WikiLeaks is Simply Bad for Everone

With these days of my having so little in the way of time to write and do what I love to do here at SUFA, you will probably find that my articles will be somewhat shorter in the weeks to come. Once I get down to working just one job instead of two, I will hopefully be able to return to some sort of normalcy (that is if you think that subjecting myself to constant scrutiny and discussing politics in a public forum is normalcy). For tonight I want to discuss this latest batch of communications stolen and subsequently leaked by Julian Assange and his toxic website. I have made no bones in the past in expressing my disgust with Assange and what he is doing. I think that he is a sleazy character. Further, I personally believe that he has no motive that is honorable or good in any way. What his purpose is in doing what he does is something that he alone really knows. But regardless of his motive or intention, I believe that the latest lead from Assange and his posse is a really bad thing for just about everyone involved, including Assange himself.

Allow me to first say that I have never liked what Assange is doing. Let’s forget about what he is leaking or why for just a moment. Basically, this guy is stealing communications between two or more people that were meant to be private. He is then taking those communications and broadcasting them to the world. Just that simple premise is enough for me to say that Assange lacks any form of integrity. In this way, Assange is no different than a doctor who breaks patient confidentiality or that shitty friend you had in high school who told everyone whatever secret it was that caused you great embarrassment. In my mind I picture him as Stan Gable, the arrogant head of the Alphas in Revenge of the Nerds, only not as good looking as Ted McGinley. Assange just strikes me as a sleazy, arrogant piece of trash who has no integrity and would probably publish naked pictures of his kid sister if it would gain him further notoriety.

But I somewhat understood his past “leaks”. The prior two that were cables between leaders in the Afghanistan conflict I saw as simply another attack by a shitty anti-America jerk who was looking to embarrass the United States. It was effective in doing that. I felt then that those two leaks were dangerous for the US forces serving in that region. It exposed vulnerable people who worked with the American forces. It meanwhile did absolutely nothing to help the situation in that region. But Assange wasn’t looking to help anyone other than himself. Another of his releases was the video of the attacks in Baghdad by US military helicopters that resulted in several dead civilians as well as some Reuter’s employees. With this, I hated to see it happen, but I was understanding in the release. Innocent people had been killed. I figured that the purpose was to stop the death of innocent people in areas of conflict in the future (in hindsight, I don’t believe Assange gave a crap about the innocent people that died. He cared only about his own fortunes).

Over the years, Wikileaks has leaked a plethora of information detrimental to many different countries. There have been leaks involving Australia, china, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and many other countries. They have released the 13k+ list of members of the British National Party, causing members to lose jobs and status because of their membership. They released the illegally hacked personal emails from then VP nominee Sarah Palin. They released the secret SOP for Gitmo. They released private documents detailing aspects of Scientology. But it appears that there is a special interest in stealing and exposing documents from the United States.

The latest leaks are cables stolen from the United State’s State Department. Communication between the State Department and nearly every country in the world. This time, I don’t see how there is an upside to the release. Do some of the cables embarrass the United States? Absolutely, they do. They also serve to embarrass the majority of the world’s developed countries and a fair share of the undeveloped ones. I have not thus far heard any gigantic revelations from these leaks. But there are sure a bunch that will strain relationships between many different countries in the world.

You see, diplomatic relations are a very nuanced thing. Think about how you relay information to all those you know. The story may sound very different depending on who you are telling. You don’t use the foul language relaying the story when you are telling it to your church going grandmother. If your best friend were applying for a position in your company, you would be far more candid about what you think of your boss to your friend than you would to anyone who works at your company. Now take those nuances and multiply them times a hundred. That is what is being exposed in these leaks. For example, several countries in the middle east encouraged the US to strike first in Iran because they feared for the safety of the region. Now with those pleas exposed, they must fear retaliation from Iran. That is just one example of the kind of damage these leaks are causing.

Because of this I see no reason for what Assange has done than pettiness and self-aggrandizement. There was cause to expose the death of innocent people. To release the private emails between nations who are working to move the world forward without causing some major blowup is dangerous, indeed. Assange’s move this time may have taken the entire world one step closer to a large scale conflict. Is he prepared to take that burden on his narrow shoulders? How many innocent people have been put at risk by Wikileaks this time? Thousands? Millions?

Imagine the damage and/or embarrassment that would be caused if every single one of your personal communications for the last ten years were made public. Think about that on your own personal level. What would you personally stand to lose if everything you ever said were made public? That is what Assange has done.

And for it, he will run for the rest of his life. He now has placed himself squarely in the crosshairs of many different nations on this planet. And not all of them like to play the game nicely, as you all know. He wanted to be the big dog and embarrass the world. He may have signed his own death warrant.

And for the record, the hypocrisy on this issue amazes me. Liberal publications such as the NY Times that refused to publish the ClimateGate emails because they were “stolen communications” apparently have no issue publishing stolen communications when they are from the US State Department. The agenda is apparent there. Liberals in general that I have spoken to or heard from applaud this release of information. Yet these are the same people who felt that the release of information outing Valerie Plame was akin to treason that should have resulted in a life sentence for all involved. It is nothing short of maddening to see the double standards and hypocrisy.

I will stop here and allow all of you to weigh in. What do you think of Wikileaks? What about Assange himself? Is there any good to be gained by releasing the private communications stolen from the US State Department? Should Assange be brought up on charges? If not, why? Let’s here from everyone.

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Comments

  1. Leaks are cumulative for governments. They are like the erosion of an earthen dam. At some point, the dam breaks.

    There are so many leaks today that they are like background noise. But they do not go away.

    The Web has changed the game – it keeps them alive.

    So, when a big leak hits, critics can go back and review old ones. In this way, the people can see a pattern. The pattern is what undermines people’s confidence.

    The governments of the world are the most vulnerable to leaks. But it takes decades to undermine people’s trust in government. It takes generations.

    The government-funded schools are designed to build confidence, but as they themselves become subject to leaks and loss of confidence, the process cannot be maintained.

    Leaks are like termites. They eat away at trust. Owners do not perceive that there is structural damage. Then, without warning, a wooden building collapses.

    We are seeing an escalating erosion of trust on all sides. The Web is part of this.

    So is government debt, which cannot be reversed politically, anywhere.

    People see this, but very few take action. Thus, they pretend they can’t see it. So do politicians. This is a joint effort. People fear calling a halt to their bailouts, so the bailouts for all increase. People do not want to admit that they are among the termites.

    The process is speeding up. I think yhe loss of legitimacy may be approaching critical mass.

    Legitimacy is tied only to tradition — a long history of trust — and government paychecks. Both are unreliable long term.

    Government is not stainless steel. It is surely not gold. It corrodes.

    Wikileaks will make secret diplomacy far more difficult to conduct. Foreigners will not trust the American government.

    That’s a good thing.

    The Establishment is in big trouble.

    Reporters cannot resist a nice juicy scandal.

    WikiLeaks supplies the evidence.

    When governments call for the need for security, they are calling for more centralized power. They are trying to shut down freedom.

    The cost of secrecy is now rising exponentially. There is no way governments will escape exposure.

    Ecuador has just offered Assange citizenship and asylum.

    His home country Australia hasn’t. They, instead, have demanded that the newspapers do not print anything from Wikileaks

    I sense fear from ignorance!

    These idiots have not figured it out yet. They cannot bottle up these leaks by telling domestic news outlets not to publish. Google does not care. Google honors no borders or jurisdictions.

    Consider this from Assange.


    But what do you of the potential of any technology designed to prevent leaks?

    Marginal.

    What do you mean?

    New formats and new ways of communicating are constantly cropping up. Stopping leaks is a new form of censorship. And in the same manner that very significant resources spent on China’s firewall, the result is that anyone who’s motivated can work around it. Not just the small fraction of users, but anyone who really wants to can work around it.

    Censorship circumvention tools [like the program Tor] also focus on leaks. They facilitate leaking.

    Airgapped networks are different. Where there’s literally no connection between the network and the internet. You may need a human being to carry something. But they don’t have to intentionally carry it. It could be a virus on a USB stick, as the Stuxnet worm showed, though it went in the other direction. You could pass the information out via someone who doesn’t know they’re a mule.

    The technology of exposure is way ahead of the technology of concealment.

    The governments of the world have entered a new era of exposure.

    This will never be reversed.

    There will be lots and lots of toothpaste leaking out of the various tubes.

    We all love gossip about people in high places. Never has there been gossip like WikiLeaks.

    I cannot think of any other private citizen who has inflicted this much embarrassment on national governments. He is just getting started.

    I hope he stays alive.

    Is any of this going to change anything significant? I doubt it.

    Is this making Washington look bad? Yes.

    That’s what the world’s diplomats got a taste of.

    They got a taste of how tacky U.S. diplomacy is. They probably learned nothing new, but their games are now front page news.

    These people do not like looking like typical people. These leaked documents make the whole international diplomatic world look as devious as it really is. The public was not supposed to see all this.

    These people have nowhere to hide from the public any more. That’s the threat. It cuts them down to size.

    They hate it.

    I love it.

    • BF

      Leaks are not the same as theft. I am mixed on this stuff because of how they get the information and their lack of care in releasing stuff that can get people killed.

      My question to you is whether the theft of information is appropriate.

      • JAC,

        Is is moral to steal from evil?

        Yes, if the theft is to protect and defend the good.

        • It doesn’t appear to me that the theft was to protect and defend the good here. In fact, in an effort to embarrass the US, the innocent and good are the very people put at risk by this reckless behavior.

          • USWep,

            innocent and good are the very people put at risk

            Who are you talking about here?

            A bunch of stinking, duplicitous, self-serving government diplomats?

            Who do you think are at risk here?

            • “Who do you think are at risk here?”
              * Anti-snake venom factory in Australia
              * Insulin plant in Denmark
              * Apple Pie(mom won’t bake anymore if we can’t trust Uncle Sam)

              December 06, 2010, American Thinker
              More damaging revelations from Wikileaks
              Rick Moran
              You could probably make the above headline a “sticky” and leave it at the top of the blog. All we’d have to do is change the story from day to day on how the latest revelation from Wikileaks has weakened the United States.

              Today’s blow are revelations about facilities in other countries that we consider “vital” to our security. From BBC:

              In February 2009 the State Department asked all US missions abroad to list all installations whose loss could critically affect US national security.

              The list includes pipelines, communication and transport hubs.

              Several UK sites are listed, including cable locations, satellite sites and BAE Systems plants.

              BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus says this is probably the most controversial document yet from the Wikileaks organisation.

              The definition of US national security revealed by the cable is broad and all embracing, he says.

              There are obvious pieces of strategic infrastructure like communications hubs, gas pipelines and so on. However, other facilities on the list include:

              * Cobalt mine in Congo
              * Anti-snake venom factory in Australia
              * Insulin plant in Denmark

              In Britain, the list ranges from Cornwall to Scotland, including key satellite communications sites and the places where trans-Atlantic cables make landfall.

              “What the list might do is to prompt potential attackers to look at a broader range of targets”

              Moscow, Beijing, and probably Tehran and Pyongyang just updated their target lists.

              With the threatened release of documents on Guantanamo, the BP oil spill, and files from an unidentified bank (probably Bank of America), we no doubt will enjoy several months of shock, embarrassment, and rage as the structure of American foreign policy is whittled away by these anarchist freaks.

              • LOI,

                Oh please, give me a break.

                Do you really believe that any “terrorist” is suddenly “clued in” to the single-point-failure threats of civilization, because “suddenly” Wikileaks has identified them???

                Come one – E. Howard Hunt wrote a book 20 years ago identifying every core choke point of US infrastructure – you tellin’ me Wikileaks just clued you in that these exist?

    • Welcome Back BF. Was starting to wonder if your last name was Assange and you were headed to Ecuador!

  2. Good Morning 🙂

    Our overbearing, arrogant Federal Government is finally being exposed for what they are, a corrupt group of elitists who have done everything possible to destroy this country. I don’t think it’s over yet, and may get worse.

    But most sheeple are just bungling along with their lives, and could care less about this. After the AGW issue was proven to be a lie, after leaked e-mails, the AGW crowd just keeps on chugging along, like it never happened. Oblivious to the truth! That’s how I see the sheeple concerning this subject, as the fence continues to surround them, oblivious to the truth.

    I’ll chime in later, there’s hunting to be done and it’s 20 degrees and snowy. BRRRR!

    G!

  3. “Greed is the root of all evil”

    But here is a good one:

    “I have news for the forces of greed and the defenders of the status quo; your time has come and gone. It’s time for change in America.” Bill Clinton

    Bill Clinton? LOL

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      It is greed when people help themselves in a selfish manner.

      It is Not greed when one works in there own self interest.

      Selfishness hurts others and ultimately oneself.

      Working for one’s self interest helps oneself, and others.

    • Anita,

      Greed is not evil – it is a desire to have more than you have now. Without greed, you’d still be wandering the African plains in a loincloth.
      desire to possess wealth or goods with the intention to keep it for yourself

      Envy is the root of all evil. The desire to take by any means what other people already have.
      occurs when a person lacks another’s (perceived) superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it.”

      Greed is good,
      Envy is evil.

      • Ok I’ll buy that. But isn’t there a point where you can be ‘too greedy’? Or would that have to be ‘too envious’?

        • Anita

          Envy > Jealousy > Coveting > Theft

          • Coveting is what drives the whole US economy. Let’s not delude ourselves. Coveting is a good think. Theft is a bad thing. One does not necessarily equate to the other.

            • Mathius

              Why did the big Ten describe “coveting” as a sin if it does not involve theft?

              To covet is to desire what someone else has. Not a nice car or a nice wife, but that car and that wife.

              The left does not want more money, they want the money of the rich.

              • It’s not in the “Big 10.” That’s a lie you’ve been told. The Ten Commandments are just assembled lists from the bible – no one knows what the tablets actually said. At best, it’s in the Big 21.

                Deuteronomy 5:21. Neither shall you covet your neighbor’s wife. Neither shall you desire your neighbor’s house, or field, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

                But some recent translations suggest that “take” may be a better translation than covet (Hoffman, Joel M. And God Said: How Translations Conceal the Bible’s Original meaning, Chapter 7.)

                But it’s right along side commandments to keep the Sabbath (do you?), work six days a week (not “up to”, but to actually work), and honoring your father and mother (regardless of whether they deserve honor or not). Also, Deuteronomy says that a bride who is not a virgin should be stoned to death in front of her father’s home. Do you agree to this as well?

                Let us also note that the book of Matthew equates anger (no matter how slight) to murder. So, to extrapolate, the bible says any small coveting (no matter how slight) is theft. Thus you are a thief many times over. Do you agree to line of reasoning?

                Or is it possible that the “Big Ten” isn’t necessarily the best source for an argument about this?

              • Mathius

                I didn’t say it was the best source.

                I asked WHY was it listed if it was not considered bad.

                The fact that it is mentioned is an indication of the various societal rules in existence way back when.

              • Sure. But they also had societal rules sanctioning the stoning of a woman for premarital sex, planting separate crops side by side, wearing clothes made of two different materials. They sanctioned slave owning and viewed men as more important than women (we now acknowledge that they got this one reversed).

                Just because something was always one way doesn’t make it right, just that it is the way it has always been. Nothing more.

                The argument you just used could have been used to support slavery right up until abolition (it must be right because they thought it was right back then too).

              • Mathius

                As you do often, you are deflecting from the original point.

                It was limited to “coveting”.

                What other norms existed is of no consequence.

                The fact that coveting was equated to undesirable wanting of someone else’ things is proof that the linkage of the two concepts existed thousands of years ago.

                It has never changed. Please provide me with evidence the “coveting” someone else’ things is now the driving factor in trade among people.

              • left…

              • Moving left…

                I’m not deflecting, per say. I’m showing you that your appeal to authority (specifically that ‘they’ thought this a long time ago) requires you to also accept their authority on a number of other points which. Since you do not agree on those points, you open the door for us to question whether they were wrong about this too.

                Also, there’s some legitimate debate whether the actual “commandment” was ‘covet’ or ‘take’ and that makes a substantive difference.

                But to back up my point, let me ask you this: do you really need all the crap you own, or do you buy things because you see other people have them and think ‘hey, I should get me one of those’?

                How often has this happened? Are you even aware of it anymore? You would live in a cave (it’s all you need after all), and subsist on canned tuna and venison. But no, you saw someone with a house and thought you would like one too. So you moved out of your cave. And you saw someone with furniture and thought you would like it too, so you bought a couch. You wanted to have the creature comforts that other people have. And on it went until you reached a point where you have 1000x what you need all because you’re you are keeping up with the Joneses. Envy, all of it.

                And all that buying creates demand which creates jobs which creates wealth which creates demand which creates jobs, et cetera et cetera and so forth. That is the beating heart of the American economy: envy.

        • Anita,

          I would say, in general, “too much” of most things is not a good thing.

          • A Puritan Descendant says:

            And if it helps others who may be confused > Greed is not about quanity. It is ok to build a financial empire so long as you don’t try to hurt others along the way to get what you desire.

            A simple example > Don’t sell your ‘dimwitted neighbor’ a load of firewood at twice the price just because you can get away with it. That would be selfish, and word gets around fast.

            • If my dimwitted neighbor was willing to pay that price then wasn’t that the value he placed on the wood? So how is that excessive greed?

              Or are you talking about taking advantage of someone mentally incapable of making rational decisions?

            • A Puritan Descendant says:

              Another point > We can’t always know the motivations of another person. If a rich person continues to create wealth beyond what he ‘needs’, whatever that may be, he/she may be doing it simply because he/she knows he is also creating jobs for others. Why stop now?

      • ::throws a challenge flag::

        Envy is not evil. Envy drives us to work harder to match or exceed others. If I envy your success, I may model myself after you. If I envy your car, I may buy a similar one. If I envy your home, I may work to make my home even better.

        It is only when, as you say, envy is turned toward taking what isn’t yours (that is, bringing you down instead of bringing myself up) that it turns to evil.

        Envy is little different from greed except that it has a target.

        Greed: I want more money.
        Greed (applied, bad): I will steal from a bank.
        Greed (applied, good): I will work harder and earn more.

        Envy: I want to be as rich as Bill Gates.
        Envy (applied, bad): I burn his house down and bring him to my level. Or, I will steal his identity numbers and drain his bank account into mine.
        Envy (applied, good): I will model myself after his success and achieve my goal.

        • A Puritan Descendant says:

          Mathius Excellent! except for one small thing IMO. You say >

          “Greed (applied, good): I will work harder and earn more.”

          I say > It is not ‘Greed’ because you are not being Selfish (stepping on others) when you work harder and earn more.

          Greed definition: Selfish and grasping desire for …..

          • It is greed if I have “enough” and am comfortable and still want more. If I make $1mm / yr and but I work harder in order to earn $2mm / yr, that’s greedy. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Frequently it is, but not always.

            • A Puritan Descendant says:

              I would not call it greed as long as he/she is not stepping on others. I would call it a ‘mental disorder’ unless he/she has another reason to acquire more, such as creating wealth and jobs for others or whatever his/her reason. I may be splitting hairs but I think you get what I am trying to say.

  4. “For example, several countries in the middle east encouraged the US to strike first in Iran because they feared for the safety of the region. Now with those pleas exposed, they must fear retaliation from Iran.”

    Julian Assange strikes me as being agenda driven, possibly thinking his actions will somehow be for the greater good, much like Mao or Linen. Throwing an info bomb into the Middle East could disrupt OPEC. And it might be a good thing in the long run. It might also lead to world disruption of oil trade, and possibly war. The Saudi’s are surely preparing for possible conflict with Iran, with all their weapons purchases.

    “But with the death of the Prophet a great divide fractured the Muslim world into the Shiites and the Sunni.” Two factions have been fighting for thousands of years. Makes me think of a bee’s hive right next to a hornets nest and a little, bratty kid throwing rocks at both.

  5. Fact: Secrets are hard to keep. Cork out of the bottle. post-it-all 1-to:world. Yous school or corporate emails? Problem ? Just as much the printed book once was. Main question: what’s next: E-Power to the people. Maybe it is good thing, because together we can control what no government can (ie. the global society we need to survive) Technology is a thread, it always was.. it always was unstoppable. So live with this and let’s discuss …

  6. Ray Hawkins says:

    My thoughts on Wikileaks……..

    (1) There are perhaps more documents classified than need be. I have worked under SF-86 before and can attest that when in doubt, documents get classified for no rhyme or reason;

    (2) Julian Assange didn’t steal the data;

    (3) The Federal Government has a huge informatics problem – lots of data with little strategically or tactically on how to avail and secure it for consumption;

    (4) The Federal Government is too monolithic I fear to ever self-correct – they can fail on report card after report card on how they secure data and do nothing and no one blinks. Will this prompt change? Change will happen but will cost more than need be and likely be done in such as a way as to implement dated security. The Government moves too slow. Shrink the data footprint then secure it;

    (5) We decry a press that has taken muckraking to new levels and seldom reports versus opines and “analyzes” and even then they only scratch the surface. We scream for original sources; show us the sausage making – we see the sausage making and shudder in horror;

    (6) Of what I have read so far – it seems there is little that would be “OMG – never in a million years would I have guessed this……”. I can understand that diplomacy has a key and critical role in maintaining the peace – the lack of visibility to the citizenry has often led to mistrust and skepticism over the value of diplomacy for diplomacy sake. Further, there are often cries to “act – act now!” with little knowledge of what can/should occur behind the scenes. The shroud of diplomacy enables the puppet strings and we never see the puppet masters (we suspect who they are, but become angered when we want people to just “man up”);

    (7) The last 45 years of diplomacy have helped result in: the Vietnam quagmire (or “failed war”), an unethical/illegal war in Iraq, a failed war in Afghanistan, hundreds of billions of dollars in wasted American money and productivity, thousands of American lives lost,……. I view Wikileaks as a dentist showing us some of our cavities. I’m sure if we look deeper we’ll see even uglier things that need fixing – but we have to start somewhere. My hope would be for Wikileaks to serve a point-in-time purpose and we learn some hard lessons from it. Then it goes away;

    (8) We ask the Federal Government to be more transparent but they don’t know how. Asking someone to reveal more of their own laundry (dirty or not) is not a terribly productive exercise.

    Happy Monday to all……

    • So by your logic if someone steals your car and givings to me, and I know it was stolen, I have not committed a cime?

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        @T-Ray – where did I say Julian Assange has not committed a crime?

        • By implication when you say he did not steal the data.

          • Ray Hawkins says:

            @T-Ray – “by implication”? Huh?

            Here is a key premise from the original posting by USW:

            “Basically, this guy is stealing communications between two or more people that were meant to be private.”

            I have corrected USW’s error as Assange never “stole” anything.

            That is not meant to state he has not committed crime.

            So T-Ray – what crime has Assange committed?

      • Interestingly enough, I had this argument once with Black Flag – it was insanely frustrating (isn’t it always?). His take away seemed to be that unless you know 100% certainly (which you can never have) that it was stolen, then you are justified in accepting it. Further, from our (insanely frustrating) discussions on copyrights/patents, intellectual property such as classified documents cannot be owned – only the physical medium on which they’re stored, so since making a copy doesn’t take anything away from the owner (the owner still has their original copy), there is no theft.

        For those of us on the planet Earth, it’s theft plain and simple, however Wikileaks didn’t do the stealing itself. That doesn’t mean there was no crime – receipt of stolen goods is a crime – just that he didn’t commit the actual theft himself. It’s the difference between buying a pirated copy of a movie and being the one to make the copy.

        All this, of course, is beside the point. The real questions are (A) is the data true, accurate, and complete, ie not misleading and (B) is so, what does it mean?

        How the data came into being, how it got into the public eye, who stole it, who published it.. it’s all small potatoes. The only real matter is what the leaks themselves mean. Too often people reject a message because they don’t like the messenger or the way the message is delivered. I, myself, have done this despite my best efforts not to. I know people here do it as well. If Al Gore came up to you tomorrow and told you he had absolute proof about global warming, how many here would say, ‘OK, show me and let’s debate’ and how many would ignore him because they think he’s a fraud?

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          @Mathius – there may be issues of jurisdiction herein as well as the legal definition of receipt of stolen property from a Federal perspective. Remember also that the supposed source of the materials (which is very much in doubt) was authorized to access them and there are I believe very narrow definitions of the crime of theft at the Federal level.

          To your point somewhat – everyone reading about this is feeling “certain” that a crime is committed – but there is a reason that we hear of the Feds “exploring legal theories” to see what exactly is the crime that was committed – it is because, I think, they really are not sure. There has been no proof of chain of custody has there? Assange can claim he found the shit in a dumpster – which sadly would not be the first time sensitive stuff has been “leaked”.

          • Very true. But it doesn’t really matter, now does it? Assange pissed off the wrong people, and now he finds himself on the most wanted list. But, oh, I’m sure that’s just a coincidence..

            You’re right though, I’m not a lawyer (but I play one on TV). You’d have to ask someone who went to law school if a crime was committed. I’m betting it’s something of a gray zone where they’ll be able to come up with something that may or may not work in front of a judge.

          • My only problem with this is, what mentally challenged Government put a PFC in charge of that much highly classified documentation and THEN preceeded NOT to have procedures to keep all said documents from being leaked?

            I mean, that is, if he is not just a scapegoat. The only evidence being that the news SAID he is the one who did it.

            Of everything I have heard so far, the one thing I have NOT heard is anyone deny that they are false. So they are true. Incidentally, no one denied that the Global Warming emails were false either. Still didn’t change anything. Neither will this.

            As far as the Governments of the world and the US being embarrassed, I could care less. My only deal with this asshole is the innocent people he may have signed a death warrant for. Or soldiers who are just doing as they are told.

            I guess the Government has egg on their faces. Boo-frickedy-Hoo.

            • Ray Hawkins says:

              @Esom – I’ve had the opinion that I cannot believe a lone PFC was the single source of all this. If they’re giving a PFC access to this much data then they are dumber than I have given them credit for in the past.

              • Ray you get no argument from me.

                I really just have a hard time believing a PRIVATE FIRST CLASS E-3 was able to access all of this. Maybe some of the Military stuff, MAYBE. But the State Department? The White House?

                Sounds just a speck far fetched to me.

      • T-Ray, JAC

        Further to JAC above as well

        How do you steal information?

        Information is not property, thus it cannot be stolen.

        • Information is property in the sense that it is the fruit of someone’s labor. I worked hard to ‘create’ something – that something is a classified intelligence document or the base code to Microsoft Windows. Either way, if you make an unauthorized copy, you are depriving me of the fruits of my labor. If you don’t want to call it ‘theft’ of ‘property,’ you can call it anything you want, but the effect is the same: I worked, you didn’t, you took some of the benefit that you didn’t work for, I got less benefit from my labor. It’s hard to see how that doesn’t qualify as in some way unethical.

          But then, we’ve had this argument before, old friend. Do you really have the energy to get into it again with me?

          • Ray Hawkins says:

            @Mathius – I’m not channeling Black Flag here. Just a question. If instead of transcribing information to paper (or a “cable”) we verbalize it – can it be stolen?

            • NOTE: Mathius reserves all rights to this post. It may not be reproduces in whole or in part without the express written agreement of Mathius and/or his legal representatives.

              ——————–

              I think it really depends on what strings you attach to it. By accessing classified data, you agree not to release said data to unauthorized individuals (I bet a billion Mathius Points that you have to sign something to that effect to get your clearance). By buying a book, you agree not to replicate it in whole or in part without permission (part of the UCC, I believe). So, doing so is theft in that you don’t have permission to ‘take’ that information.

              If it’s verbalized, I imagine it is much the same. If I say “don’t repeat this” and you repeat it, you’re being unethical by virtue of your implied acceptance of the agreement not to repeat. (possibly stealing, depending on what you’re repeating). If I don’t say anything, then I think you’re free to use the data any way you like.

              But that’s just my thoughts off the cuff. We can dig into this if you’d like.

          • Mathius,

            The fruit of one’s labor manifest into a tangible good – not a abstract “thought” sitting in one’s mind.

            Thus, property is created once it is manifest, and the property is that physical manifest.

            Any statement of “unauthorized” or “illegal” or any other ill-defined and inappropriate application of these terms does not make your argument.

            To resolve this, Matt, we must start from the beginning, not the middle.

            What is property?
            Why does property exist?
            What purpose does property provide to People?

            • Property: Something you own.

              Why: Because otherwise, everyone could just take and there would be no incentive to produce. (why should I hunt for dinner if I can just take what someone else hunted?)

              Purpose: See ‘why’.

              • Mathius,

                Property: something you own

                Agreed.

                “Something” requires tangible – something is not “nothing”.

                The Universe does not operate in abstraction.

                It operates in reality.

                Property is what you manifest in reality, not what you merely dream in your head.

              • Idea are very real. Simply because you cannot hold them in your hand does not make them “dreams.”

                Is an atom a “dream”? Can I own an atom even if I can never hold it, or see it? An idea is a specif configuration of neurons and chemical states within them. Likewise, it can be a specific arrangement of ink on a page, dots on a screen, or vibrations in the air. All these are very real.

              • Separating topics as they will probably go tangent:

                Because otherwise, everyone could just take and there would be no incentive to produce. (why should I hunt for dinner if I can just take what someone else hunted?)

                Utility is not a justification.

                Because you see a benefit in stealing food does not give you a right to steal food.

                Do not bother with any perverse argument trying to “prove” your rights because it merely may benefit you.

                I do not care if evil makes the economy bigger.

                I do not care if evil makes the economy act faster.

                I do not care if evil makes you richer.

                None of those arguments justify evil.

                So, I do not care if using violence on non-violent men makes you richer or creates an incentive for you to act.

              • Fair enough. So you answer the question. And do it in a new thread because it’s getting squishy in here.

    • Truthseeker says:

      Ray: “illegal war in Iraq”

      TS: Congress voted to allow troops to enter and wage war with Iraq. Therefore it is not illegal. Unethical is your opinion.

      • Didn’t we end hostilities? If we’re still fighting a war there, then I’d say it’s illegal (ie, not authorized), no?

        Adding, whatever happened to Mission Accomplished?

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          The only Mission Accomplished was Bush’s wet dream that he go get the guy that was threatening his Daddy.

          • Boy, I almost bought his book just to see if there was any mention of the Mission Accomplished banner. I couldn’t bring myself to put any money in his pocket so I never did. But I’m sure it is in there.. as someone else’s fault.

            • I’ll let you know. Bought the book for the ride to Hawaii! 🙂

              • Want a good book for the ride to Hawaii (it’s a long plane ride, but this might take you the whole round-trip).

                Hawaii by James Michener

                That is one hell of a book. 1,026 pages, 6 pages of genealogical charts, and it’s a dozen pages before the islands have even formed – it goes all the way up through WWII if I remember correctly.

                It’s in my top 10 all time favorites.

              • Long ride indeed. Longer with a 12 yr old in tow. 1.5 to Chicago then 9 to Honolulu. Not looking forward to that part. Can’t wait to see the other kids though 🙂

                I’ll stick with Decision Points at the moment but I’ll keep yours in mind.

              • I’ve done the 6hr LAX-KOA many times. It’s a rough trip. I wouldn’t want to do with with younguns in tow, let alone a 9hr trip. My sympathies.

                But, honestly, it’s a great read if you get tired of Bush.

                Have a nice trip.

              • Thanks. Next Wednesday it is! I’ll be looking for DPM’s vessel! 🙂

              • It was last sighted off the coast of Mexico near Peurto Vallarta.

              • Are we really whining about the long flight to Hawaii???????

              • Yes, Dangit. I want instant gratification 🙂

              • Buck the Wala says:

                It really is not that long a flight. Quit complaining – soon enough you’ll be enjoying a nice cool cocktail on the beach.

              • So what’s the answer to “Are we there yet Mom?”. I’m gonna tell him Buck said Quit Complaining!

              • It is better than, say, a trip to Australia…

              • OMG – Pigs are flying by my window right now – I agree with Buck!

                A couple of Mai Tai’s, some Macademia nuts -that should take care of the 12 year old.

                Now as for you….

              • Buck the Wala says:

                Exactly – tell them that if they don’t quit complaining evil progressive Buck will come after them.

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                @Anita – good luck on the read and have a safe trip. I’ve asked for a copy of the book from Santa.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        @Truthseeker – here we go again……….

        The “evidence” used to support the position was bullshit (or at least smelled like shit) – and they went with it anyway.

        Had something been Wikileaked back then would there have been a different outcome? I would hope so.

        • Ray

          Come on now, fair is fair. I you require precision on these issues then you must be willing to accept the same.

          The War was NOT illegal in the technical sense.

          And THAT is the problem. The fact that we can authorize military invasion of another country without a “Declaration of War” authorized by 2/3 vote of Congress.

          The fact that even then, we could declare war without first being attacked by said country.

          • Unfortunately, I have to agree. It’s not illegal, just unethical.

          • Ray Hawkins says:

            @JAC – I would make the argument that intentionally misleading those who must authorize renders the legality of the entire action illegal.

        • People are easily stampeded. Threats of nuclear terrorism and/or being unpatriotic can work wonders on Congress. “With us or against us” was (I hate to say it) a brilliant tactic for destroying dissension – it said, you either support this questionable course of action, or you’re with the terrorists. By eliminating any possibility of a third choice (pro America but anti-stupid-war), everyone falls into line.

          They would have still gone ahead out of fear of being labeled “soft on terrorism,” “playing politics with American lives,” “cowardly,” “unpatriotic/anti-American”, “terrorist sympathizers,” et cetera. And don’t forget, everyone was steamed of 9/11 and desperately wanted retribution against someone – anyone – it didn’t really matter against who just so long as they could feel like we were punishing evil-doers. Nothing would have been any different unless our representatives had a backbone. And we both know that is impossible.

          • Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don’t want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

  7. Ahhh…..good ‘ol Wikileaks. Here is the Colonel’s take.

    1. The lad that “stole” the documents needs to go to Leavenworth and make little rocks out of big ones for the rest of his natural life. Having authorization to the documents means nothing. There is still a need to know. Simply becuase I have a TS/SSIR clearance does not sllow me access without a need to know. This lad stole documents and most likely sold (my opinion and I do not have proof…dont need it)them to Wikileaks for profit.

    2. The acceptance of the documents, whether bought or donated, and the use of same for personal gain, whether financial or ego, constitutes a crime and the receiver of said documents needs to go to Leavenworth and make little rocks out of big ones for the rest of his natural life. Assage is a meglomaniac….an egoistic ass that is out for himself. He sees himself as a savior and he is the pariah.

    3. Any country or state that allows him sanctuary should be listed as a non-friendly state and all government trade and all government financial dealings with this country or state should be suspended.

    4. The irony of all of this will be to drive information more underground now. Things will now become more secretive and less known and that can happen. Everyone who thinks that the technology age and the internet is all powerful…..better think again.

    5. Ray is quite correct that most governmental agencies will “classify” a document when there is any doubt. The government will classify documents to keep them from the public. There is no “classified” oversight committe or agency responsible for actual clearance classifications. I can classify and mark a document secret tomorrow. Now, what will happen (it is already happening), there will be less media imbedding, less people handling the documents, even greater secrecy and classifications, and stronger penalties for releasing information. Wikileaks has not helped….it has hurt.

    6. BF hit a chord in that government is a be-he-moth. It is gigantic. It is self consuming. It is out of control. I predict that Wikileaks has made it more so and not less.

    7. I believe that the releasing of these diplomatic documents and the threatened “poison pill” documents that have depicted certain feelings around the world will make other countries distrust each other to the point that we will certainly not get information now. The rest of the world will become more secretive. I believe that many people will die mysteriously as a result. This makes Wikileaks an accessory to murder. There are many, on this blog and in the information community, that sees Assange as a hero…a watchdog…..I see him as a thief and a murderer (no, Buck, I do not care about the semantics of what a murder truly is) PROVIDED that killings take place. It has been predicted by many that the names released in China specifically will be…..ummmmm…..eliminated is the best word that I can put on it. Many will take the position that the governments and the mega corps did this to temselves and the ends justifies the means. Many contacts will be driven under ground or outright disappear, or have a car accident, or a boating accident, or die of a mysterious illness. Those that decry government killings and give a free pass in this…are…well…hypocrits of the highest order.

    In conclusion, I have been in this business a long time. You have no idea of what will go on behind the scenes. Careers will be dashed. People will certainly die. Diplomatic channels made more secretive. Classification made more stringent. Secrets more prevalent and the overkill will be tremendous and it will be decisive.

    The other irony….(I have to laugh at this)….is the reality in the middle east. The waking up of how geo-politics is played. It is a very dangerous game. If anything, these documents, if correct, has shown that theUnited States is not the bad boy or hegmonic powere that everyone thinks. That we have really played it close to the vest in most instances. These documents are showing that there is greater and more far reaching hegmony taking place than that of the United States.

    Even though Wikileaks has proved me correct in several areas…..I still deplore the manner in which it was done.

    So….those are my thoughts…from the depths of a dumb old retired Colonel who knows nothing.

    • Good day Sir!

      After some thought, I’m still at odds with my thoughts, but am leaning on taking a stance in favor of this release of info. I’ve read several news articles on the released cables and see Wikileaks as accomplishing something that doesn’t occur much anymore, investigative journalism. Wikileaks simply provided the goods to be written about. Funny how investgative journalism that exposes the truth have become a criminal act. If not criminal, they are deemed “conspiract theorists”, “nutjobs” or (pick a name). The government is monitoring it’s citizens on a daily basis, under a lie called national security. This is the mindset that the Government has shoved down our throats since the Watergate scandal. They don’t want us to know the truth.

      On the other hand, I also have a “really don’t like” stance because of the death that it may cause. But then I ask myself, who provided this vast amount of info and why? Is this another “Gulf of Tonkin” (the Aug 4, 1964 one) that was used to wage war against NVN. Could this amount of info have been provided by a Govt agency with a purpose. Is the CIA (or other agency) wanting certain people dead and are using this method to have them “assassinated” without pulling the trigger themselves?

      Lot’s of questions, and few answers. But, I’m trying to keep an open mind to see where this leads and what’s the real purpose.

      Very windy today, 23 degrees and snow flying sideways, good day for an easy afternoon at home.

      Peace!

      G!

      • GMan

        Perfect day to find a huge buck hiding in the brush on the leeward side of the hill or rock outcropping.

        Sound like our weather has finally reached you. Good luck.

        • Hi JAC 🙂

          I love the snow and cold, but the 40 mph gusts and a steady 20 mph wind have limbs flying around. The snow is getting heavier and whiteouts are possible, fun times indeed! Filled a doe tag Friday with a big mature doe! Still holding out for a mature buck.

          G!

      • Hey G !!!! Look for the bucks in that weather…hunkered down leeward or under a scrub cedar.

        G says: “…see Wikileaks as accomplishing something that doesn’t occur much anymore, investigative journalism. Wikileaks simply provided the goods to be written about. Funny how investgative journalism that exposes the truth have become a criminal act.”

        D13 ponders: If it is true investigative journalism….ok. But, in my book, this does not pass the smell test of same. A PFC that “steals” government documents and sells them to a journalist does not pass muster as investigative journalism. There appears to be no ethics…no honor….no morals. As a journalist, if I wanted to investigate wrong doing and I break in somewhere and steal files…this is criminal and it would not matter what I found. I could be correct but it was still criminal. I do not see how you can justify one crime to expose another. As a journalist, if a PFC approached me and offered stolen documents that identify a crime and I accept those documents, then I have committed a crime as well. If I pay money for those documents, I have committed a crime as well.

        As a journalist, if I wanted to investigate a corporation for illegal dumping of toxic waste and I approach an employee and offer money for records….that makes me a criminal. I am inducing someone to steal and I intend to use that information for my Pulitzer. Sorry…I cannot justify one crime to solve another. If that is the case, then every criminal that breaks into a house or office or government building can claim they were looking for wrong doing.

        Now you did hit on something that I would like to know. This has a much bigger agenda in my opinion than releasing a few docs to satisfy his ego….there is something else. Do not know what……but the ambush hairs are prickling on the back of the neck. Something ain’t right.

        • D13

          After reading USW’s article, my first thought was he had something to gain monetarily (maybe from Russia). Then I thought, this guy is a true black flag waving Anarchist. After all, he released some damning info that seems to point towards making many governments look bad, despite the danger to himself. Pure hatred of all governments could be his motivation. I bet he plays poker too 🙂

          I really haven’t read anything that would be much more than embarrassing to these governments. I also have a hard time believing that a PFC (Marine) would have the access and desire to do this. I haven’t read anything on this PFC, other than a news outlet said it then retracted it. Pass on a link if you have one, please.

          G!

          p.s. (in a whisper) I bet he really does play poker!

          • Well, it does not surprise me on the access. That is easy to do…what does surprise me was the lack of oversight from his supers…..he got information out.

    • Re Leavenworth:

      Can we send some of them to make big rocks out of small rocks? They are free to leave once they accomplish this goal.

      • Whoa…..this would be a trick…..like pulling the sword our of granite!

        How are you today, sir. I do not like this north wind here.

        • I’m good, but I certainly don’t like this weather. I am a fair weather creature and become uncomfortable when the mercury dips below 80F. It’s 31 and windy today – this displeases me greatly.

          The only advantage is that it saves me a lot of money on refrigerating my large stockpiles of Red Bull.

        • Or when it goes above 115 (no humidity). 105 is the sweet spot.. maybe I’m a closet Texan?

          • Ahhhhh……I can go to 110….115 with no humidity is great. Today….39 22 mph wind outta the north….nothing between us and Oklahoma ‘cept a 4 strand barbed wire fence…but three strands are broke…does not stop much wind.

            • Hmm.. I would certainly want to fix those strands if I lived next door to Oklahoma.. I only ever know one girl from OK, but she was batshit-crazy. If she’s typical, I might suggest going and building your border fence there instead…

              I gotta tell you, it’s been a few years since I’ve been in 100+ weather – I miss it more than I can say. The way the sun soaks into your skin and is a physical presence, the way everything slows down, and your shoes stick a little when you walk on pavement. I love the way you’d feel when you walked out of a cool air-conditioned room into a wall of heat and you’re whole nervous system shuts down for a second to take it in.. God, I miss it.

              Let me know when it warms back up, I’ll come for a visit. :\

  8. This is certainly an interesting response to this situation:

    State Department To Columbia University Students: DO NOT Discuss WikiLeaks On Facebook, Twitter

    Talking about WikiLeaks on Facebook or Twitter could endanger your job prospects, a State Department official warned students at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs this week.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/04/state-department-to-colum_n_792059.html

    • Kathy

      My anger level still goes up when I think about that.

      As someone who grew up during the 60’s and 70’s, with revelations like the Pentagon Papers and the Church Commission, it just eats at me how “accepting” we have become with the authority used over us. Without that complacency no Govt employee would dare make a statement like that in public.

      Congrats on your official Rose Bowl invite.

  9. Rothbard on Government Secrecy:

    In some areas, a radical distinction between private persons and government officials is acknowledged in existing law and opinion.

    Thus, a private individual’s ‘right to privacy’ or right to keep silent does not and should not apply to government officials, whose records and operations should be open to public knowledge and evaluation.

    There are two democratic arguments for denying the right to privacy to government officials, which, while not strictly libertarian, are valuable as far as they go: namely

    (1) that in a democracy, the public can only decide on public issues and vote for public officials if they have complete knowledge of government operations; and

    (2) that since the taxpayers pay the bill for government, they should have the right to know what government is doing. The libertarian argument would add that, since government is an aggressor organization against the rights and persons of its citizens, then full disclosure of its operations is at least one right that its subjects might wrest from the State, and which they may be able to use to resist or whittle down State power.

  10. This is funny – yep, it was that “false information regarding his place of residence” that made us do it.

    Swiss cut off bank account for WikiLeaks’ Assange

    GENEVA – The Swiss postal system stripped WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of a key fundraising tool Monday, accusing him of lying and immediately shutting down one of his bank accounts.

    The swift action by Postfinance, the financial arm of Swiss Post, came after it determined the “Australian citizen provided false information regarding his place of residence during the account opening process.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101206/ap_on_re_eu/wikileaks_59

  11. Man killed on golf course
    >
    A foursome of guys is waiting at the men’s tee while a foursome
    of women is hitting from the ladies’ tee. The ladies are
    taking their time.

    When the final lady is ready to hit her ball, she hacks it
    10 feet. Then she goes over and whiffs it completely.
    Then she hacks it another ten feet and finally hacks it another
    five feet. She looks up at the patiently waiting men and
    says apologetically, “I guess all those f*cking lessons I
    took over the winter didn’t help.”
    One of the men immediately responds, “Well, there you have
    it. You should have taken golf lessons instead!”

    He never even had a chance to duck. He was 43……

  12. I am torn between BF’s position and USW’s position on this. I agree that the theft of information is bad. I believe that it is inconsistent to fight government invasion of privacy but give a pass to private invasion of privacy. It is not so much theft itself that bothers me, but the invasion of privacy itself. The things he is broadcasting are communicated in confidence.

    That said, I see the benefit in exposing things. For instance, I saw no outcry against the hackers that got into the scientist’s emails that started climategate. I think that exposure of evil or impotence is a good thing. I have no problem with the US government being embarrassed if it deserves to be. My loyalty to the US is very limited. My loyalty to what the US was, what it could be, and what it stands for or should stand for is very strong, but my loyalty to the disgrace it currently is wears thin.

    I am not a fan of Assange because I do not think his motives are right, but I am not too upset about the results of his actions. I do not like the idea of innocent people being put in harms way, but I think that is more the fault of the leaders putting them there rather than exposure being to blame. I dunno, Assange is certainly no hero, but if his agenda was truly one seeking freedom, I might think he was one. Ragnar Danneskjold comes to mind.

    • I agree. Now, if the “leaders” would quit leading and start representing then we might get somewhere. That includes all countries. None of us commoners asked for this quagmire, none of us wants war, I would even go so far as to say none of us needs to be king of the hill. But how to we get the “leaders” to see it that way? (just a rhetorical question).

    • I’m in agreement with you as well Jon.

      Assange’s personal reputation is beside the point (so he’s a jackwagon, big deal, I don’t plan on inviting him over for dinner). That he published all these cables he received from a young PFC does not constitute a crime IMHO, anymore than when the Times published on the materials they received from Wikileaks (or the climategate materials, or back in the day when the Pentagon Papers were published). Does his reasons for publishing them make any difference? No. Yet, why is not the Times reasoning for publishing being called into question? If Assange is some guilty dirt bag, then so to is the Times.

      Really, if one wishes to condemn him then condemn the Times or ANY organization/group that publishes materials of a private, confidential, or classified nature, now or in the future – regardless of the reasoning.

  13. Judy Sabatini says:
  14. Judy Sabatini says:
  15. One of the primary reasons, if not the only good reason, to reveal government conduct is to expose corruption.

    Otherwise, what purpose does it serve? Just to embarrass people seems a bit ridiculous to me, unless the targets are guilty of some malfeasance.

    It seems that much of the firs wiki releases met this criteria at leas to some degree.

    But now we have them releasing a list of infrastructure and other assets considered vital to US security. One has to wonder, what exactly is the purpose of this latest release. Is their some inherent corruption involved in identifying those assets integrally linked to our security or well being?

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40526224/ns/us_news-wikileaks_in_security/

  16. Mathius,

    Idea are very real. Simply because you cannot hold them in your hand does not make them “dreams.”

    *blink*

    If they are in your head, they are no different then dreams – they are not “real” – you can dream flying fire breathing dragons does not make them real

    Is an atom a “dream”?

    No, it exists in reality – it physical.

    Can I own an atom even if I can never hold it, or see it?

    You do “hold” it – it exists in reality.

    An idea is a specif configuration of neurons and chemical states within them.

    Utter rubbish.

    My brain can hold exactly the same idea your brain holds, and there is no way our brains are “configured” the same way.

    Likewise, it can be a specific arrangement of ink on a page, dots on a screen, or vibrations in the air. All these are very real.

    So if I change one pixel, it is no longer your “arrangement” – by your argument here.

  17. Borrowed from Hans Hoppe:

    What is property?

    A physical resource required by a man to live.

    Why does property exist?

    A man alone on an island does not need property. There is no conflict in his acquiring resources for his survival.

    When there is more than one man in competition for resources, there is scarcity. It is this scarcity that creates “property” (ownership).

    Wherever there is scarcity of resources in relation to human
    demand, the possibility of conflict arises.

    The solution to such conflict is the assignment of property and property rights—rights of exclusive control.

    What purpose does property provide to People?

    All scarce resources must be owned privately in order to avoid otherwise inescapable conflicts.

    However, while the assignment of private property rights makes conflict-free interaction possible, it does not assure it.

    The possibility of property rights violations exists, and if there are violations, then there must be rights of self-defense and punishment as well as liability on the part of a wrongdoer.

    All this holds true regardless of how and to whom such rights are assigned and who accordingly is or is not considered aggressor or victim in any given case.

    We still remain in the realm of “positive” legal analysis when we consider what might be called a praxeological requirement of any system of assigning property rights.

    In order to make conflict-free interaction possible, every such system must take into account the fact that man does and must act.

    In other words, it must be an “operational” system. To accomplish this, based on the system adopted, human actors must be able to determine ex ante, at any moment in time, what they are and are not permitted to do.

    In order to determine this, there need be some “objective” borders, signs, and indicators of ownership and property as well as of wrongful invasion of said ownership and property.

    • So to summarize:

      Property and property rights exist to allocatescarce resources.

      There is no need to allocate resources to property that are not scarce – (the air you breath is not property – it is not scarce – thus there is no “property rights” to air)

      Therefore, using “property rights” on resources that are not scarce will dangerously pervert both the resources and the rights of man.

  18. You Know You Live in an Empire When …

    … your government produces a list of things critical to the security of your country, and all of the things on that list are located outside your country.

    http://213.251.145.96/cable/2009/02/09STATE15113.html

  19. 🙂 for comments

  20. GOLD 1423!

    BF I really do owe you a steak dinner! I have benefited big time since taking your advice. 🙂

    • Anita,

      I’d love that steak!

      Silver broke $30 too….

      But also notice that the D/Jones and the markets are going down at the same time.

      When commodities like gold go up, and the markets go down, this is a decoupling of the financial system and this is a dangerous sign – it means the “smart” money is liquidating – but not into cash.

      • You mean like China buying tonnes of it? Buy it all up fellas..won’t hurt me a bit. I DO need to quit stalling on silver though…

        • Anita,

          http://silvergoldsilver.com/index.html

          …has run out of products.

          They produced a funny little video, it was posted on “ZeroHedge” and within a day, they were overwhelmed in orders.

          They will not be accepting new orders until the 10th.

          • Funny video. I saw it before but with different words. I’m glad Max Keiser’s plan worked but does that mean that there is no silver for sale anywhere or just from THAT dealer?

            • I can still find silver – but they are not a small player, so it does indicate a large buy-up.

              I tested a price, and it was 25% over spot for a Maple Leaf coin. Eekk!

              • WOW! I got my gold from Monex. Was very pleased with the small markup. Silver Eagles..You have to buy a minimum of 100..that’s ok too but I was wondering about the junk silver..you have to buy a bag-o-715 oz from them..Yikes

          • I purchased some junk silver today (90% silver instead of 99%). Silver rounds were unavailable for a month or more at Camino Coins.

            I don’t know if I did the right thing in making the purchase but it’s too late now.

            • Hey Birdman,

              I’ve been wondering about junk silver myself. If you don’t mind me asking..was there a minimum you had to buy?

              • Anita,

                I purchased a large amount. I am not sure if there is a minimum. Call Camino Coin and ask them. You can find them on the internet.

            • Birdman,

              It is a good buy.

              It does not matter when you buy – it matters when you sell

              • Black Flag:

                What can you tell me about junk silver? I should have asked you before I purchased but I wanted something and that is all that Camino had other than Silver Eagles.

              • Birdman,

                They are fine – just remember they are a lower percentage of spot that a pure coin, of course – and as such, suffer a far larger variance of selling price depending on who you sell to.

                Some will value them high, others not so.

                But as an ore they are great.

                So, a hint – sell to a jeweler. He will melt the coins for the silver content.

      • When the market moves with gold, that’s a sign of market manipulation.

        When the market moves opposite gold, that’s a sign of decoupling.

        If you throw the woman in the lake and she drowns, it means she wasn’t a witch…

        • Mathius,

          …not quite.

          Normally a rise in commodities is matched in a rise in the markets.

          When it decouples, it is a sign of flight and fear (if into gold/silver) or it is a sign of economic boom (if reversed, out of gold and into the market)

          • Speaking of gold, sir.. I figure if anyone will know this, you will.

            My boss (who has now hired me at two separate companies) will be leaving in a few months. He is a huge gold bug. I was thinking that a great parting gift to him might be a gold nugget, or perhaps a large quartz crystal with a gold vein.

            I’m looking to spend up to $200, but would consider pooling with co-workers to get something larger and more impressive. Some casual Googling didn’t turn up anything I liked.

            I don’t mind if the majority of the nugget is quartz, but it should be at least 4-5 inches across and have some heft (possible paper weight).

            I really appreciate the help.

            • Posting for comments…

            • Mathius,

              Nuggets et al are very expensive

              When Dad had his placer claim, we’d find half-pinky-fingernail sized nuggets, and would sell them at 300-1000% over the price of spot gold.

              The more “interesting” the nugget, the higher the jewelers would pay.

              Here is a site that offers nuggets – but one your size would be very expensive, I think.

              http://goldnuggetsales.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=48

            • Or you could buy a 1/10 oz. coin, and frame it with a “Best Boss in the World” poster…

            • I looked at this site..

              What I was thinking was more along the line of quartz with gold, rather than gold with quartz, follow?

              I know you can get a large high quality quartz easily and cheaply, but I just want one with some (not necessarily much) gold visible in it.

              But from the sounds of it, something like that is going to run far more than I’d like to spend..

              Do you have any thoughts on other gold-related gift ideas – if I were buying you something along those lines, what would you want?

              • Mathius,

                It would be a great gift.

                It indicates that you have a personal insight to his “attitudes” well earned over many years.

                He would treasure the meaning of the gift at a far higher price than the money you paid.

  21. On Monday’s edition of The View, Condi Rice appeared as a guest co-host, and Joy Behar began by asking: “I have a question for you. I’m invited to the White House Christmas party this Friday. I’m very excited. I’ve never been before. [Applause] And I was wondering if you could tell me what I’m supposed to like, know.” We’ve come quite a way from Behar sneered about Rice that “she’s drunk the Kool-Aid.”

    Rice drew some notice for saying Team Obama needs to get the lead out on the WikiLeaks issue before America looks like a “paper tiger.” Whoopi Goldberg asked about the talk that Julian Assange has a “doomsday file” to release if anyone gets their hands on him:

    GOLDBERG: That to me sort of sounds like a terrorist. Cause that’s what terrorists seem to do. Try to hold countries hostage in fear. Am I crazy or just being nutty?

    RICE: This is a really serious matter. Whatever you label it, it’s wrong and it ought to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law because if you don’t prosecute it, if somebody isn’t punished for what he’s doing, then people are going to keep doing it. You can’t possibly protect yourself completely in the day of the Internet, and the way that the Internet works. But this is a great disservice, not just to the United States, but as Secretary Clinton said, to the whole international community. You cannot conduct business this way…

    Behar said why couldn’t Assange help by finding a location find Osama bin Laden (as if he wasn’t rabidly anti-American). Sherri Shepherd asked about how Team Obama was doing:

    SHEPHERD: But are they being decisive, the White House, about, you know. Are they going to consider him a terrorist?

    RICE: They are having the Justice Department look into what laws are applicable here and that’s really what the White House has to do. I hope they hurry up, because the longer this goes on, the more the United States looks like a kind of paper tiger and frankly, people aren’t going to talk to us if they think that what they said is going to be on the front page of every newspaper in the world. Now, that said, reading some of this I also thought people talk too much in these cables, you know? You don’t have to write down everything that you think. And so probably some restraint in what you actually write down would be helpful, too. Maybe people have learned that.

    When Goldberg suggested (in mocking tones) that Newt Gingrich was suggesting this reflects how badly the Obama administration was run. Rice generously said this “could have happened to anybody. I do think — and I hope the administration’s about to really push the envelope here on what can be done to stop it.”

    Read more: http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/tim-graham/2010/12/06/view-condi-rice-offers-joy-behar-white-house-party-tips-warns-against-wi#ixzz17R05fqnS

  22. Ray Hawkins says:

    crickets

  23. Like 9/11 for many people today is a day I think about my Dad. Had he been alive on 9/11 he would have been furious.

    http://hawaii.gov/hawaiiaviation/aviation-photos/1940-1949/december-7-1941/wheeler-field/ha_photo_album_view?b_start:int=12&-C=

    Take a look at last picture on row two of the wrecked P40 being salvaged. I found this picture a couple of years ago and wished I had seen it long before this. The GI behind the prop is Dad. My best guess is this photo was taken at Wheeler Field sometime between Dec. 8 and 12. There was no time on Dec. 7 to start salvage operations. By Dec. 11 or 12 they had rebuilt 4 planes at Wheeler. One was a hybrid with wings for a P40 on a P36 fuselage (or vice versa) which Dad helped engineer. Two years latter they were still pulling bailing wire out of some of the planes.

    It seems the lesson was forgotten.

  24. An interesting perspective on the Wikileaks fiasco.

    Christina Gagnier
    IP Lawyer at Gagnier Margossian.
    Posted: December 7, 2010 04:25 AM

    “The United States government, Amazon, PayPal and the myriad of other players who I am sure will become tangled up in the dissemination of the Wikileaks’ cables could benefit from a simple piece of advice: play it cool.

    For the government, very little of what was leaked turned out to be “secret.” What was leaked does not paint a picture of some fast and loose foreign policy maneuvers or even that of incompetency. Subject to the stark reality these cables may disclose, which may be uncomfortable to many, their contents were not wildly unexpected.”

    Additional comments and thoughts can be found here:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christina-gagnier/instigation-not-mitigatio_b_792954.html

  25. Sorry USW, but I’ve grown tired of WIKI so I figured I would stir the pot.

    Line drive down the third base line. Buck the Wala dives for it but comes up with nothing but dirt on his uni.

    Pilfered from electrictity blog.

    Constitutional Breakdown: How the GOP-Dem tax and spend compromise throttles the voters’ will
    Written by Rob Natelson on 06 December 2010

    The impending taxing and spending compromise between congressional Republicans and Democrats and the Obama administration demonstrates how the federal constitutional system has broken down. And how the breakdown can sabotage democracy.

    Under the emerging terms, as reported in the press, the Republicans will receive at least a temporary extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans. The Democrats will win additional spending on unemployment insurance and other items.

    Now think about that for a minute: We have just gone through a national election in which the voters sent two messages loud and clear: (1) curb spending and (2) cut the deficit.
    So Congress is now about to give us a deal that raises spending and adds to the deficit. How can this happen? It can happen because the Supreme Court has so expanded Congress’s spending power as to change the U.S. Constitution from a good constitution to a bad one.

    Constitutions are rules for the political game. Good rules translate the normal political process into generally good results. Bad rules translate them into bad results.

    If the courts were still enforcing the original Constitution’s limits on federal spending, this deal would have come out differently: Instead of Republicans winning tax cuts and Democrats getting spending increases (resulting in a higher deficit), the discussion would have been about how much spending to cut (resulting in a lower deficit). In other words, under the original Constitution, the voters’ will would have been translated into reality. Under the current distorted system, it has been throttled.

    Anyone who knows my personal and political history knows I love tax cuts. But whether extension of the tax cuts is good or bad is not the point here. The point is that when the Supreme Court stopped enforcing most constitutional limits in the name of “democracy,” what we really got was less democracy.

    In November, the voters overwhelmingly demanded less spending and lower deficits.

    In December they will get exactly the opposite.

    • In November, the voters overwhelmingly demanded less spending and lower deficits.

      In December they will get exactly the opposite.

      As I said after the election, nothing will change and elections are a farce, I just thought it would take longer to be proven.

      G!

    • Very, very disappointed in the extension of entitlement pay – another 13 months! You gotta be kidding me.

      Left talking points memo sent out: use terms like “bonus” and bailout” for the wealthy! I’ve heard it twice this morning from different sources. So let’s see – keeping more of your own money is now considered a bonus and/or a bailout? Makes me sick – and yet those dumb people that Mathius talks about so often will actually believe and buy into this crap.

      • People. Are. Dumb.

        My friend from high school (yes, I did have friends) called me not long ago. He got laid off and thought it might be a good time to come for a visit. I asked how his job search was going. His reply: oh, I’m not going to start looking until about a month before my unemployment benefits run out.

        Sigh..

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          Mathius – why is your friend “dumb”?

          • Because when you game the system you hurt everyone, including yourself.

            But perhaps we should have gone with Mathius’ Second Law: People. Are. Lazy.

        • This attitude is all over. I can think of many instances hearing people talk about how they are on unemployment and don’t care about looking for a job for a couple of months. But I also know people that have a very specialized background that can’t find anything close to where they live.

          • Right, so how do you protect/help the later while avoiding the former?

            Adding, if I couldn’t find a job (note, specialized skills and a highly competitive industry in a terrible market), I would have started looking at retail or some such just to hold me over until I found something. I’m not interested in paying for you while you find the job you want – I’m only interested in helping you until you find a job (any job).

        • Mathius,

          As I’ve pointed out before, government action in the economy perverts the economy.

          Because the government pays your friend to be unemployed, you cannot be surprised that he wishes to remain unemployed.

          Only when the risk that he will NOT get paid while being unemployed will motivate him to find work.

          He is not “dumb” – he is acting exactly like the government motivates him to act. (Which maybe a definition of dumb….I guess)

          Without UI, he would have been pounding the pavement months ago.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        @Kathy – I’m confused – if I have spent my entire life paying into unemployment benefits why am I not entitled to them if I become unemployed through no fault of my own? I believe Mrs Weapon was unemployed for at least a spell – was it improper for her to collect?

        • Ray,

          I’m confused now. It has always been my understanding that employers pay UC taxes – not employees? In which case then you are entitled to nothing since you paid in nothing and why companies can fight any unemployment compensation to ex-employees if they desire to do so.

          • Ray Hawkins says:

            Not sure Plainly….. I am also confused…..

          • CORRECT! I’ve always wondered this myself. This is one area that could bring relief to employers. ’07 I had to layoff 8 employees..first time ever in 50+years. My UCI bill that year was $15k. Assuming that was split between the 8 employees that would be an extra 2k per employee per year. Ohh would they raise hell if they had to pay that.

            • Thanks Anita. I was getting ready to go searching (now that the goat house and pen are cleaned – making the girls happy. 🙂 ) for the answers to how it worked.

        • Ray,

          So you have an UI savings account somewhere that you pay into just in case you lose your job and then you’d just pull out of that account? No problem with this method whatsoever!

          This, unfortunately, isn’t what is going on. Instead of short term holdover (3-6 months?) it is now a long term entitlement (was 99 months – being proposed to add another 13 months) that you and I are paying for.

          • It’s become obscene. I’m all for helping those in need, but the sheer length of these benefits is staggering – it’s supposed to be an emergency stopgap measure, not a lifestyle..

            But then again, I guess that’s what happened to Social Security as well..

            Sigh..

            • C’mon Matt, you are so close to crossing over to the understanding of what happens with social programs. We will make a libertarian out of you yet!

              • No- must- resist- must- not- give in- must- Red Bull- drink- must-

                *pssst*

                *chug chug chug*

                Ahhh.. much better.. now where were we..? Ah yes, making a libertarian out of me.

                No thank you, I like creeping entitlements for the undeserving and lazy. I enjoy paying money out of my hard-earned paycheck so that people can have a year-long paid vacation. That’s why I vote Democratic!

                *Pssst*

                *Chug Chug Chug*

                And further, I think that our leaders really have our best interests at heart. In no way are they lying and deliberately misleading the masses as they serve their corporate masters, private interests, personal agendas, and sociopathic narcissism. No, they truly care about what is best for the country, every last one of them.

                *Pssst*

                *Chug chug chug*

                Yup, I sure do feel like things are headed in the right direction. No doubt in my mind.

              • “or they need to starve to death because they are poisoning the gene pool”

                Looks like you are already there, your Red Bull cannot save you now, MWAHAHAHHAAAAA!

              • Canine Weapon says:

                I think I might be building up some kind of immunity.. switching to the big ones..

          • Um, again I may be confused. It is my understanding that if a person is at 99 weeks they are out of luck, this deal only funds those that haven’t reached the 99 week cutoff?

            99 weeks is ridiculous as far as “helping” in my distracted opinion.

            • It’s almost 2 years!

              I’ve been out of work for 2 months at my longest stretch.. at the worst part of the market collapse.. in a competitive industry.. which was devastated by the collapse. You mean to tell me that I can find a new job in that situation in two months and people looking for “normal” jobs can’t do it in 2 years?

              Bulldookey!

              If they can’t find a job in two years, they either need to go on permanent disability (because they are mentally/physically disabled), or they need to starve to death because they are poisoning the gene pool.

              Bah!

          • Ray Hawkins says:

            Hmmmm – maybe at 99+ months its time to find another career? Sounds harsh maybe but waiting seems no better option.

            • Don’t want to find another career? That’s fine.. find a temporary job use that to pay your way until something opens up in your desired career.

              How many “aspiring actors” are waiting tables in Times Square restaurants?

              • Hear hear! I was out of work in my career path for 5 months once. I moved pianos for a local piano store for 4 of those months to make ends meet till I got something else I wanted to do. It paid horribly and it was difficult, but I have some great stories from that time and I was able to eat and keep the lights on and the internet on so that I could keep job hunting.

          • This goes back to what I proposed several months ago. That we eliminate SS and UI and a few other payroll taxes and move all the money to a 401K like fund that is individually owned and managed. It serves as your personal safety net and your retirment. If you mismanage it, or use it up while unemployed, too bad. Welfare for those who are disabled is a separate issue and would be handled separately. This makes the individual responsible and gets government out of our lives.

            • Buck the Wala says:

              Aw, Washington screwed up the economy and the stock market completely tanked thereby halving your private retirement account just as you were about to retire? Yeah, too bad…

              • So how is the SS lock box working for you? My retirement did not drop by half. Had the excess SS that was withheld starting in 1984 been put in a 401K, I would be in even a better, more secure position today than I am in. Wall St. is a far better investment than Capitol Hill. At least they are interested in pure greed rather than pure power and buying votes with my money. I would like to see a transition to all payroll taxes going into 401K like accounts along with a strong HSA program. Get government out of our personal finances and out of my pocket.

        • and from Kevin Jackson:

          Republicans are strutting around the barnyard like the cock of the walk. They made Obama extend the Bush tax cuts, and only gave another 13 months of unemployment insurance to millions of Americans. Bravo for the Republicans…for being played.

          Don’t believe the hype that the Liberals are up in arms about this deal. A few are, but the real puppet masters got exactly what they wanted.

          13 months is 56 weeks. Does anybody even remember that unemployment was originally 26 weeks?

          At 99 weeks we were at almost four times the original duration of unemployment, now we’ve added 56 weeks, more than double that original amount. Don’t think that unemployment benefits will be reduced…EVER!

          Unemployment benefits are just redistribution of wealth. The Liberals got another inch, and are still working towards that mile. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself this question: Has there been any discussion of a limit on unemployment benefits?

          The fact is there is no limit on unemployment for Liberals. Keep in mind this is the group who votes themselves fat pensions that pay them for LIFE. Government workers and unions, getting paid to do nothing with no reduction in lifestyle. These benefits are a payoff to the poor to keep voting Democrat, because the Republicans won’t allow you to get free money.

          What did the Republicans get? They got what they already had!

          As usual the Republicans missed an opportunity to step on Obama’s skinny neck, and brightly illuminate the reason for the need to extend unemployment for two Christmases: Obama’s policies can’t create jobs. In fact, Obama’s policies kill jobs!

          Obama promised 4.1M jobs, when he was running, yet there is no mention of this. He then promised to create 95K new jobs every month this year, yet he’s done bupkus!

          But instead of reminding Americans about Obama’s inability to accomplish anything, and his complete incompetence, the Republicans cave on unemployment. The millions of people whose unemployment was to be cut off needed to be reminded of Obama’s incompetence, and not sold on the idea that Republicans are heartless. Republicans are job creators. The tax cuts are a PROVEN way to create jobs and help the economy.

          However, this Republican move is strictly symbolic. Strategy 101. Business as usual for a group that still hasn’t learned how to fight.

          A two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts is a reprieve, a stay of execution and not a pardon. Businesses will see this as two-years to batten down the hatches, not to invest. After all, there is a socialist in the White House, and the way the Republicans fight, he might be there four more years.

          Since nobody else seems willing to say this I will. When did the rich stop being Americans? Do they have rights or are they to be bandied about like a ping pong ball for political expediency.

          There is nothing wrong with being rich.

          Most kids I know aspire to be this, so do you hate KIDS?! Most poor people I know want to be some version of “rich,” do you hate poor people? It’s counter-intuitive to hate the rich, because most of us strive to be rich. Why does the government want us to hate our potential selves?

          And when discussing “those who make over $250K,” Democrats are quick to discuss “millionaires.” Well making $250K does not make you a millionaire. And even if it did, who is the government to put a limit on your productivity, your aspirations and dreams?

          Claire McCaskill said on Fox News today, [pp] “…the millionaires ‘second million’ should be taxed heavier.” Why? Because in order to be a millionaire, you must be evil, right?

          Here’s the wrap:

          Letting the Republicans represent taxpaying Americans is like having a pedophile watch your kids.

          The Republicans should have forced Obama to let the Bush tax cuts expire, thus increasing taxes on everybody. The unemployed would have had to deal with their lack of funds and lack of jobs, and they would know exactly where to put the blame. But the Republicans were afraid of being demonized, and supporting the rich.

          The rich deserve to be supported. Outside of government jobs, it is the rich who employ people—and the government. It is time that Republicans stop allowing rich to be treated as second-class citizens. But they won’t.

          So Obama is Santa Clause for the next two years. He is funding reparations to the poor, payoffs for the remainder of his campaign season!

          Most of the unemployed now qualify to be wards of the government. And if they don’t mind waiting in long lines, along with unemployment, they can now get housing assistance, a “food” credit card, a cell phone, and a host of other benefits. Welcome to Sugar Land.

          The added benefit for most is they can go on their hustle. A hustle is a little “somethin’ somethin’” that the government doesn’t have to know anything about. A cash deal or a barter. The government encourages this behavior, because you can only go so far with a hustle. Once you’re on the hustle, the government has you right where they want you. Voting Democrat.

          Merry Socialistmas, this year and next!

          http://theblacksphere.net/the-unart-of-compromise/

          • Kathy

            They did not add 56 weeks to the 99 weeks.

            The extended the 99 week support for up to another 56 weeks.

            Those about to pass over the 99 week limit will get NOTHING.

            • ???

              I’ve heard and read we are at approx. 3 years now (with this proposal), which would be 99 weeks plus the 13 month extension.

              Have you read an official bill yet?

              • Buck the Wala says:

                As JAC says, the bill calls for allowing an extension UP TO 99 weeks for another 56 weeks, not tacking on an additional 56 weeks to those who have already received 99 weeks.

                The real question is not whether JAC has read an official bill, but has Bachmann??

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      @JAC – consider the pot stirred. 🙂

      As I have heard countless times now – WHERE THE HELL ARE THE TEA PARTIERS? Where is Miss Bachmann? Miss Palin? Mister Demented?

      Or was it all a ruse?

      • a ruse.

        Meet the new boss! Same as the old boss!

        • Buck the Wala says:

          She really does amaze me – basically being handed everything she wants and yet would still vote it down because of the extension of jobless benefits. Absolutely nuts.

          However, I do hope someone refused to allow this so called ‘compromise’ to pass. Some Dems are talking about refusing to go along with this proposal as well. Should be interesting…

          • Extending unemployment payment extends unemployment! If this Congress was at all concerned about the high unemployment number, they too would vote against this provision.

            No need to compromise on this issue at all. We can’t afford it! Period. See article above by Kevin Jackson. I agree on his take.

            She amazes me too Buck – wow, that’s 2 times in 2 days we’ve agreed. Very scary.

            • Buck the Wala says:

              True but she amazes me in a bad way.

              Are there valid arguments to be made for disallowing an extension of unemployment insurance payments? Sure. But to hold unemployment insurance hostage to guarantee a continuation of tax cuts for the wealthy? To refuse a compromise (that I admittedly do not like in the least) that gives you practically everything you want just because of the extension of unemployment insurance – we can debate the percentage of recipients who really do deserve these payments, but lets agree that there are a significant number. Come on now.

              • “Deserve”? They “deserve” these payments? Why?
                ‘Splain this to me Lucy!!

                NO ONE “DESERVES” a frickin’ thing. While I admit readily that employers pay in the Unemployment Insurance for you and if you are laid off, you should get Unemployment for the 26 weeks that it provides for, come on. 2 YEARS??? Paid for with BORROWED money? And now they have added 56 MORE weeks?

                I feel as bad about people losing their jobs as everyone else. I have immediate family without one. But this nation does not have the money to begin a permanent class of unemployed welfare recipients. And don’t kid yourself that that is not EXACTLY what this Government is doing.

                And no. I specifically did NOT say the Obama Administration. I blame the whole Government. I also do not think that the Republicans should have compromised jack shit with the Dems.

                If the Dems didn’t want to extend the tax cuts then the Republicans should have just waited until the turnover and THEN retroactively done it.

                My personal opinion is that I have spent 2 years having shit rammed down my throat and 2 years of watching the economy go into a tail spin while we borrow ourselves into the poor house from the Chinese because the Democrats would not compromise with the other side. Now they want the Republicans to compromise with them, nay, just give THEM what they want like the American people did not just speak loudly in the election that we are sick of this Government FUBAR.

                I don’t know why it bothers me. I knew nothing would change. That is why I get so pissed. Nothing is ever going to do anything but get WORSE until it all just collapses.

                Too bad it’s going to screw us ALL when it does.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                bad choice of words on my part – i did not mean they deserve the payments, but that there is a sizable number of people who do need an extension of these payments at this time.

                As far as your tirade against compromise and against having ‘shit rammed down your throat’ I would guess to say that regardless of anything passed by a democratic majority you would have been opposed and felt the same way. Where did the Dems refuse to compromise with the GOP over the past 2-yrs? Where was this far-left agenda? I have yet to see any of it and have only seen an over-abundance of so-called compromise in an increasily ludicrous attempt to get a single GOP vote on a single piece of legislation.

              • “Where did the Dems refuse to compromise with the GOP over the past 2-yrs?”

                HealthCare Law – passed with 51 votes in the Senate. Using the new tactic of calling it a Budgetary thing.

                That’s just ONE. Look. I am not saying that the Republicans are any better than the Democrats. I just think the Republicans are right in this instance and that I would not have compromised jack shit to get the Dems on board. Passing other horseshit with it only makes it bigger spending for us as it is.

                It is not wrong and does not make you a bad person to be rich, OR to make over 250 grand a year. I know. I have family that is in that EXACT category. They are the job makers. Should they be punished for making and giving the rest of us jobs so that we can make money also?

                You will not “save or create” diddly jobs if you raise taxes on these people. To say that you can continue to make the wealthier people of this nation pay for all the Government spending is the height of absolute stupidity.

                No one SHOULD have had their taxes raised. NO BODY.

                Let the Government CUT THEIR SPENDING!!!!!

      • Yet throughout this debate, the broadcast networks have insisted on framing the debate as about “tax cuts” and “tax breaks,” not about forestalling a tax increase that could jeopardize the weak recovery.

        MRC analysts reviewed all 23 ABC, CBS and NBC evening news stories about the tax debate from the start of the lame-duck session of Congress on November 15 through December 5, just before the GOP and Obama struck their deal.

        Network reporters used the phrase “tax cut” a total of 71 times to characterize the issue at hand. CBS’s Nancy Cordes, for example, talked about “the battle over the Bush tax cuts” on the November 15 Evening News. Two nights later, NBC’s Chuck Todd related a new poll showing how “49 percent say don’t give the wealthy these tax cuts” — as if the “the wealthy” would be getting some new gift from the government.

        In contrast, the more accurate term “tax increase” or a synonymous phrase (e.g. tax hike, tax rise) was used only 11 times, or less than one-sixth as often as the phrase “tax cut” was employed. On the December 2 World News, for instance, ABC anchor Diane Sawyer reported how Democrats had voted to “let taxes rise for the wealthiest Americans.” In addition, the network evening news broadcasts used the more neutral description of extending the current “tax rate” a total of 8 times in the same period.

        The CBS Evening News was the most slanted, describing an extension of Bush “tax cuts” 30 times, with only 3 references to taxes increasing. ABC World News was not much better, using the phrase “tax cut” 27 times, as opposed to only 4 references to taxes going up under the Democratic proposal. NBC’s Nightly News was the most balanced, with 14 mentions of “tax cuts” in their reporting, 5 mentions of tax increases, and all 8 references to extending current “tax rates.”

        Read more: http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/kyle-drennen/2010/12/07/6-1-margin-networks-paint-debate-over-tax-cuts-not-raising-rates#ixzz17Sju7uFH

        • Buck the Wala says:

          You say pot-AY-to, I say pot-AH-to…

          The Bush Tax Cuts were slated to expire this year from the beginning – everyone knew this going in. As such, yes, the wealthy would be getting some ‘gift’ from the government as even the wealthy (along with everyone else of all income levels) knew they were receiving a tax cut to last until the end of 2010.

          • Only from the left is keeping your own money considered a “gift”.

          • Buck,

            I have offered several people jobs in the past two years only to have them refuse. Some are hones, and have told me they draw more on un-employment than I can start them at, or they will get back with me when it run out. My question is when does temporary become permanent? 99 weeks plus 56 weeks is temporary.

            And the Bush Tax Cuts were slated to expire this year because they could not make them permanent.
            They wanted to, but too much Democratic opposition.
            Had the Republicans cut spending, as they promised, we would be in a very different world today.

            • Damn typo’s, honest, not hones.

              when it run’s out, not run

              And I haven’t been drinking, yet.

            • Buck the Wala says:

              Fair enough – I’ve always admitted that there is ample amounts of fraud and waste that we need to do a better job addressing. However, to refuse any extension of unemployment given the current state of the economy for anyone is a bit much.

              As for the Bush tax cuts – why do you think they couldn’t be made permanent? Perhaps because there was no way to pay for them – then or now? Perhaps because, at least as those making in excess of 250K are concerned, the cuts are bad economics?

              • Buck the Wala says:

                For instance – if you offered a job to someone currently receiving unemployment and they turn it down, they should no longer be entitled to receive unemployment (or at least no extension of benefits for those individuals).

              • Buck,

                I am a coward. If I call the unemployment office, and say so and so refused a job offer, I expose myself to privacy violations. It’s frustrating, but not worth the risk.

              • Buck,

                I heard today extending un-employment will hurt the states the most. CA, NY, NJ & IL will be hit hardest. There is a new Fed study that show the Stimulus produced NO permanent job growth.

                I think the Democrats had enough votes to fight off permanent tax cuts, and Bush compromised. How to pay for them? CUT GOVERNMENT SPENDING! Can you retire at 55?
                Some government pension plans allow this. The four states above are in the same position as the auto makers, they have promised pensions they cannot afford, counting on someone down the line to figure out how to resolve paying for it.

                Bad economics are not determined by making the $250K or $500K earner pay more than the rest. Bad economics are simply spending more than you can afford.

                http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/4599

                Three reasons why Republicans object any raise in taxes are:

                First on principle: no new taxes while the economy is stalling.

                Second: self-employed people own a lot of small and medium sized companies. The profits of these companies are taxed as personal income of the owner. Tax legislation is different in many aspects between the US and Europe. This kind of small and medium sized companies are responsible for the biggest chunk of employment creation in the US. The center-left research institute ‘Tax Policy Center’ estimates 44.3% of these companies will be victimized by the higher taxes.

                Three: continue to aggrandize the slope of the tax tariffs is contra-productive. An ever decreasing number of people are paying an ever larger amount of the taxes, while a growing number of people are paying no taxes or almost no taxes at all. The balance between ‘payers to the government’ and ‘receivers from the government’ is almost 50-50. The top 1% of earners pay 33.7% of income taxes. Half of the earners pay about 95% of all income taxes. (Numbers of 2008.)

              • Buck the Wala says:

                First – we need to be reducing government spending and raising revenue right now. I agree that we should not be raising taxes across the board, which is why I support a more permanent extension of the tax cuts for those making under 250K (I could even support raising that figure to somewhere near 400K or so). I also support a reduction in the payroll tax for a year (though want to ensure we do not have this debate next year about how our taxes are going to go up if we don’t extend the payroll tax deduction for another year).

                Second – the figures of how many small businesses would be affected by the ‘tax increase’ are all over the place. I would take out certain small proprietorships that have no employees from the equation, for instance. The actual percentage that would be affected would probably be closer to 5% (I’ve come across figures between 10% and as low as 2%).

                Third – The difference between how much the top 1% of individuals are earning and the rest of the people is also at an all time high. The rich should be paying a greater percentage, and the super-rich sould be paying even more. If anything we need more tax brackets!

              • The super-rich will not pay more. That is the lie of taxation. Taxes will always create a larger separation between the wealthy and those below. The very wealthy can and will find a way to insulate their wealth. If they must, they will simply leave, they have the resources to do so.

                The only way to decrease the power of the super-rich is to have competition for the best investments, the ones that are available only to those with massive resources. But the rich, the one’s on the path to super riches are the ones that progressive taxes hit the hardest. They are not able to afford to avoid taxes, and after taxes they are no longer competition for the super-rich. Thus, the super-rich are free to get richer while the rich drop to middle class. Then, since revenues drop and the class warfare is even more noticeable because of the increasing wealth gap and the decreasing number of people at the top, more taxes are levied on an ever-lower income level, making the problem even worse.

                Reduce taxes and you will increase revenue and decrease the wealth gap and help the middle class, and even put a dent in the super-rich. That is the reality. Too bad the supporters of progressive tax won’t see reality.

              • Buck
                First – we need to be reducing government spending and raising revenue right now.

                Pony up what, and how much from where and whom.

                But don’t bother, my answer to you will be:impossible

              • Buck the Wala says:

                Then why ask the question?

                again…sigh.

              • Buck,

                I ask because you do not.

                You offer some brainchild idea “cut government spending” – as if by magic your proclamation will make it so.

                You have done no work to see what can be cut, what are the consequences of such cuts, and if the consequences are acceptable within the political framework that exists today.

                I have done this work – which is why I say “impossible”.

                Until you have done this work, you will continue to offer -by your ignorance- ridiculous proclamations.

              • Buck,

                So, as Buck the laid-off lawyer, you should have to take a janitor’s job or else your benefits end – you agree?

              • Buck the Wala says:

                After some given time of looking within my field or a related field, then yes, absolutely. I’ve never said otherwise.

              • Buck,

                But you said you would remove benefits of those that refused a job.

                So you would accept losing your benefits just because “you wanted some time to look”

                Who judges how much time?

                What constitutes “looking”?

                Who measures this?

              • Buck the Wala says:

                This is a societal decision to be made. Clearly there comes a point where you must accept a different job. However, you should also be granted some time to find a replacement job. How much? I dunno – its not for me to say, but for us a society to come up with a fair and reasonable provision.

              • Buck,
                then your original statement is contradictory.

                Worse, you apply a complete subjective measure to the policy of government – “what ever is fair” – to who? How do you measure “fair”?

                Why is your “fair” more valid than my “fair”?

                The danger you promote with all these programs is that they are whimsical.

                Government action that is whimsical has proven to be ultimately very deadly to humanity.

          • You have $100. I rob you at gun point and take $40. Then I give you a $5 bill. Do you appreciate my gift?

            (Directed at the article writer who chose the word gift, not at you, Buck) 😀

            • Buck the Wala says:

              I will answer anyway – no, that is not a gift.

              But remember, we disagree on the initial question as to whether or not taxes are theft. I say no.

              • Ok, I charge you $35 for an insurance premium you must pay every week. I tell you that is a discounted price and it is going up next week to $40. I extended the sale price for another two weeks. Do you appreciate my gift?

              • Buck the Wala says:

                Again, I never characterized anything as a gift.

              • I know Buck, I was just pointing out the absurdity of the classification, I know you were not the one that did the classifying. 🙂

              • Buck,

                You cannot accept the definition of taxes to be theft, for it would lay waste to almost all of your political theory because the definition is the truth.

                If it is merely the actor that changes the definition of the act, you are a hypocrite, by definition!

              • Buck the Wala says:

                sigh

              • Buck,

                It is murder, except if government does it, then it is “war” or “collateral damage”.

                It is theft, unless government does it, then it is “taxes” or “services”.

                It is kidnapping, unless government does it, then it is “detainment” or “protection”.

                It is extortion unless government does it, then it is “police protection”

                You are change your definitions depending on the actor.

                “Thou shalt not steal, except if your government – then its ok”

  26. Hi Ya’ll 🙂

    Thought I’d put this up and get some opinions. This video will be seen on screens at the checkouts at many Walmart stores (over 200 stores are having these screens put in as we speak). Everyone who shops at these Walmart stores will see this!

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      @G-Man – there is already a website devoted to “suspicious things at Walmart”

      http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/

      • LOL 🙂

        Evertime I see an email with these pictures all I can say is WTF!

        Not the intent of the post, but WTH!

        Hope your day is a good one Ray

        G!

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          Every time I see Napolitano’s face I say WTF/WTH!

          Hope you’re staying warm up yonder G-Man – its another Witch’s Tit kind of day.

    • Wasn’t it in “1984” that the kids were trained to watch and report on their parents’ activities?

      Now here’s Big Sis…

      • The history of Nazi Germany, as well as many other dictatorships should provide any answers we need. Ask yourself a question… What can you do in life, from start to finish, that does not require some form of government approval (not breaking a law)? Bet you can’t find one! 🙂

    • Too damn funny.

      More Walmart. His question is relevant though – What are we looking for at Walmart?

      http://dougpowers.com/2010/12/07/dhs/

  27. Ray Hawkins says:

    Hey Flag – thought we were “all good” on the BP oil spill having no lasting effects? Thoughts?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/07/gulf-oil-spill-kill-zone_n_793092.html

  28. On Wikileaks:

    The reason Wikileaks exists is because the Main Stream Media has failed.

    It has failed because it no longer reports on the evil actions of the government – it acts to condone those evil acts.

    It is no longer on the side of the People (if it ever was), but most assuredly on the side of the Elite.

    Thus, Wikileaks is vital for the People to get the information of what is really going on …. there are very few sources otherwise.

    • It’s interesting that all of this is not close to over. As of today, wikileaks have released 960 of 251,287 cables. They can be found here:

      http://wikileaks.ch/cablegate.html

      As these cables date back to 1966, it should provide alot of historical info the Cold War and Vietnam. Could be very educational.

    • It ia amazing how we can just blow over the fact that these documents were stolen and used improperly bt because we like the “education” then it is ok.

      BF may be correct in his analysis but he is wrong in application. It is NOT ok to steal….even in the interest of public safety. Where does it stop? If it is ok to steal a jelly bean, it is ok to steal a car. It is not what is stolen, it is the act itself. I dont get it.

      • D13,

        I agree that if the person who provided the material broke the law he should be tried. Now, when can we put the government on trial for theft? I see them as the biggest thieves of all, not just by stealing our money, but the theft of Liberty. I’ll ask you this question, what can you do in your daily life that did or does not involve the permission or theft by the Government?

        It’s cold up here, still windy and still snowing! A new storm expected on Sunday. The good news is the wind will die down and we should get the rest of the week to continue the deer hunt. The 8 inches of snow will be nice to hunt in!

        Peace my friend

        G!

        • G…I cannot argue the merits of trying the government. I would love to do that….but I have to revert to the axiom that two wrongs do not make a right (to coin a well used phrase). Just because it is government does not make it correct. There are those on here that argue slippery slope and I see the support of Wiki as a very slippery slope but at a much greater angle.

          G asks: “I’ll ask you this question, what can you do in your daily life that did or does not involve the permission or theft by the Government?”

          D13 responds: Assuming that I agree with you that taxes, regulations, etc., is government theft…may answer is “nothing”.

          The weather down here is pretty cold by Central and North Texas Standards. What makes it worse, of course…the wind. I can handle 25-35 degrees just fine. But them thar 40 mph winds in those temps…..brutal. Good luck on your hunt. I need to go to the ranch and bag a couple of pigs..need some backstrap, ham hocks, and bacon. Got plenty of deer chili. That means leaving 55 degrees today and go into 35 with wind….but the thrill of the hunt warms the soul. A Winchester 243 at a couple of hundred yards, with a Leupold 60 power scope, and a 180 grain silver tip….does a nice job without destroying the meat.(anything larger is over kill). Hit em right behind the ear…drops them with no running and no strong or wild “rut” flavor getting into the meat. Clean, cut, put em in the smoker…sit in front of the fire and drink your favorite warm toddy…….life is good. A good escape before the reality of going back to the border war.

      • D13

        Good morning Colonel

        I tend to agree with you but have this dilemma with Govt.

        If we take the approach that taking documents or information is sacred then all the Govt does is classify everything as secret.

        I’ve seen this even in non military agencies. Every thing starts looking like personnel or “working papers” to keep it out of FOIA.

        I still maintain the stuff leaked so far was not that bad and shed little real light on the goings on of foreign policy. Anyone who paid attention knew most of the important stuff.

        But I also still believe the motives of these people are not noble. Otherwise they would recognize something worthy of a story rather than just dumping stuff to stir the pot.

        Open the door down there would Ya. Let this cold air drain out to the Gulf.
        JAC

        • JAC says: “If we take the approach that taking documents or information is sacred then all the Govt does is classify everything as secret.”

          D13 says: I agree with you. It is easy to do. I have the power to classify. But where do we take the approach. I just posted below about Wikileaks supporters who have hacked into Mastercard and shut it down. Suppose they now have the information of individuals….and decide to leak it….will you say the same. Or is it that government only is a free target but all other information is sacred?

          JAC says: “I still maintain the stuff leaked so far was not that bad and shed little real light on the goings on of foreign policy. Anyone who paid attention knew most of the important stuff.”

          D13 says: I also agree here….but that still does not wash with me on the theft of material and the usage of same. I admit that I liked some of the stuff that came out…Specifically on my warnings on Iran and the real fear out there….but it is still not right. It may not hurt us all that badly but this Wikileaks is also wanting to do this to corporations,,,,anything he feels is a threat to …..I do not know what. He (Assange) does not have the good of the world at heart and anyone who believes this is naive. It does point out that maybe we should hae an independent agency that oversees all of this not connected with the government but the mechanics of same…….?

          I am trying to keep the door shut. I am greedy with my warm gulf air…Make a deak with you……You KEEP your cold up there and I will send some warm….ok?

          • D13

            Govt is fair game and private enterprises are not.

            However, I do not support the hacking into of Govt computers or stealing to disseminate.

            The guy that stole it goes to jail. But the press that reports it gets off in my book.

            The new problem is guys like this don’t have any Press bona fides in my opinion. If they did, they would filter the stuff to that which is worth vs. just embarrassing folks. Like the personal opinions of other leaders.

            I don’t care how you do it, just make it warm up.

            🙂

      • D13,

        First, you cannot “steal” information – there is no loss to demonstrate theft.

        The info was copied, and no one knew. No one knew for perhaps years. Why is it suddenly “Theft” once more people know about it?

        • Well, you and I have to agree to disagree…semantics aside…If I copy a TS document it is theft. Also, downloading information from a computer, like he did, is also theft. But, I understand your definition of theft when it comes to information. Just do not agree with it.

          Hope you and yours are well.

  29. Just for laughs

    Two blonde girls were working for the city public
    works department. One would dig a hole and the other would follow behind
    her and fill the hole in. They worked up one side of the street, then
    down the other, then moved on to the next street, working furiously all
    day without rest — one girl digging a hole, the other girl filling it
    in again.
    An onlooker was amazed at their hard work, but
    couldn’t understand what they were doing. So he asked the hole digger,
    ‘I’m impressed by the effort you two are putting in to your work, but I
    don’t get it — why do you dig a hole, only to have your partner follow
    behind and fill it up again?’

    The hole digger wiped her brow and sighed, ‘Well, I
    suppose it probably looks odd because we’re normally a three-person

    team. but today the girl who plants the trees called in sick…………..

    There was a family gathering, with all generations around the table. Mischievous teenagers put a Viagra tablet into Grandpa’s drink, and after a while, Grandpa excused himself because he had to go to the bathroom. When he returned, however, his trousers were wet all over.

    ‘What happened, Grandpa?’, he is asked by his concerned children.

    ‘Well,’ he answered, ‘I don’t really know. I had to go to the bathroom. So I took it out and started to pee, but then I saw that it wasn’t mine, so I put it back!’

    • Canine Weapon says:

      You might be a redneck if you go to your family reunion to pick up women!

    • Canine Weapon says:

      The Bull and the Turkey

      There are a turkey and a bull standing
      near a tree. The turkey says to the
      bull “I wish I could go up there, but
      I lack the strength.”

      The bull replies, “eat some of my
      droppings. They are full of nutrients
      and will give you the strength you
      need.”

      So the turkey eat the droppings and
      is able to fly to the lowest branch.
      The next day, he eats some more and
      reaches the very top.

      As soon as he reaches the top, he
      looks out and can see for miles. He
      is amazed at his good fortune and is
      content. A second later, a hunter
      shoots and kills him.

      The moral of the story is this:
      Bullshit may get you to the top, but
      it won’t keep you there.

  30. Lots of talk about tax cuts, so let’s review.

    Any cut in taxes without an equal cut in expenditures does not make the government budget work.

    However, the government merely makes the difference by debt. This also happens to be the best way for government too – as taxes are a high-visibility issue for the people (TEA party is an example).

    Taxes are about as high as they can go without destroying the economy faster.

    But lowering taxes does help the people. It leaves more of their money in their wallet.

    So to save the economy government must cut SPENDING. This will not happen – period.

    Thus, between lowering the debt and lowering the taxes, lowering taxes is by far the best choice for the People.

    It will give the People a few extra bucks to prepare for the day government defaults on their debt.

    • A question. How many “people” get this vs. how many “sheeple” will not?

      I’ll say the the People are 5% and the sheeple are 95%, and thats a stretch.

    • I agree. Mostly. Government will never cut spending. They can’t politically raise taxes much more. Thus they will simply issue more debt. Some day people will stop lending to us.

      Well, well.. what then…?

      • Then that gold piece of yours will be worth a lot more. And my ability to live off the land will be invaluable. My RV might go up in value a bit too.

        Ever seen a house of cards fall?

        • The good news is that I’ll be able to pay off my mortgage in massively inflated dollars. 🙂

          • Mathius,

            Actually, you may have to sell your house, because you can’t afford to pay for food that now costs billions in massively inflated dollars.

            The government response will be wage and price controls – they always do that – pretending the problem is prices and wages, and not their debt.

            Thus, you will not be able to buy anything – goods will not be offered for sale. Huge shortages will appear in everything and everywhere.

            • Dread Pirate Mathius says:

              I guess I should get going on those food stockpiles. I’m already set for Red Bull.

    • I think a key issue is them reaching a quick decision on the tax rates. Too many organizations are affected by the uncertainty of how to prepare their taxes and what to withhold. This will have a major impact on the US & world economy. Obama must be in near panic mode with his left base fighting him. He faces the US economy moving back into a recession, and they will not compromise on punishing the rich(even though it’s been shown to generate less revenue for the government).

      For the record(and Buck), I think the Repugs left their base by agreeing to extend un-employment. So the Repugs and Obama have compromised, and the liberal left is screaming NOOOOOOO!

      • Buck the Wala says:

        For the record, many Repugs are also up in arms about this proposal.

        Also for the record, while I do have misgivings about the proposal, I do feel it is better as a whole than the alternative.

        • Buck the Wala says:

          For instance, DeMint is threatening filibuster because the proposal does not provide for ‘permanent’ tax cuts. sigh.

        • Agree, but is the media giving equal coverage to both sides in opposition? Is FOX only reporting the Demoncrats who insist on tax increases on the rich? Is all other MSM only reporting the Repugs that insist on permanent cuts or no un-employment extensions?

          I also have misgivings, but think the uncertainty makes a quick compromise the best outcome.

          • Buck the Wala says:

            Haven’t checked out Fox, but the other MSM seems to be reporting on both. I’ve seen articles/reports on DeMint and other Repugs against the proposal as well as articles/reports on Sanders and other Dems opposed to this compromise.

            As for uncertainty – not sure what you’re getting at. If you mean we need certainty in our taxes, this compromise doesn’t do that at all; just pushes the problem down the road another year or two.

            • Buck,

              Federal agencies are warning congress and the Pres. that if they do not act on what the tax rates will be, they will not be able to get required documents printed. All businesses may have to change their withholding, but have not been given guidelines. Wallstreet, the banks and nearly all businesses are looking for a decision.

            • Economic Substance Doctrine. The IRS is now empowered to disallow perfectly-legal tax deductions and maneuvers merely because it judges that the deduction or action lacks “economic substance.” This is obviously an arbitrary empowerment of IRS agents.

              Employer Reporting of Health Insurance Costs on a W-2. This will start for W-2s in the 2011 tax year. While not a tax increase in itself, it makes it very easy for Congress to tax employer-provided healthcare benefits later.

              Third Wave: The Alternative Minimum Tax and Employer Tax Hikes

              When Americans prepare to file their tax returns in January of 2011, they’ll be in for a nasty surprise—the AMT won’t be held harmless, and many tax relief provisions will have expired. These major items include:

              The AMT will ensnare over 28 million families, up from 4 million last year. According to the left-leaning Tax Policy Center, Congress’ failure to index the AMT will lead to an explosion of AMT taxpaying families—rising from 4 million last year to 28.5 million. These families will have to calculate their tax burdens twice, and pay taxes at the higher level. The AMT was created in 1969 to ensnare a handful of taxpayers.

              Small business expensing will be slashed and 50% expensing will disappear. Small businesses can normally expense (rather than slowly-deduct, or “depreciate”) equipment purchases up to $250,000. This will be cut all the way down to $25,000. Larger businesses can expense half of their purchases of equipment. In January of 2011, all of it will have to be “depreciated.”

              Taxes will be raised on all types of businesses. There are literally scores of tax hikes on business that will take place. The biggest is the loss of the “research and experimentation tax credit,

              Read more: http://www.atr.org/six-months-untilbr-largest-tax-hikes-a5171#ixzz17Yt8MAbd

  31. Australian Kevin Rudd has said: “”Mr. Assange is not himself responsible for the unauthorized release of 250,000 documents from the U.S. diplomatic communications network,” Rudd told the news agency. “The Americans are responsible for that.”

    He has it right and he has it wrong. He is wrong in that the “release” of the documents was directly Assange himself, owever, he is right that the documents given to Wiki is our fault. Classified documents need to bekept under closer scrutiny and the people responsible shoud be vetted more closely and backgrounds checked more thoroughly. This, of course, will happen now that the cows are out.

  32. NOw we have Wikileaks hackers shutting down Mastercard’s sites. Now, if Wikileaks hackers get into the personal files of people and find out things like…credit limits, who is behind in payments, who is not, addresses, account numbers…..and they decide to publish something along those lines……will those of you who support Wikileaks releasing government documents…support Wikileaks releasing personal information…especially yours?

    You cannot say it is different because the theft of information is still theft….whether personal or government. Releasing personal information is the same as releasing government documents…..only the agenda changes.

    • So I take it you felt the same way about the climate-gate hackers? I appreciate your point, theft is indeed theft. I do, however, believe there MUST be a way to hold government to the same standards, in fact, to even more open standards. The government is ours, we paid for it, thus what it is doing with our money is ours to know.

      If you are funding a company, do you have the right to check up on them to make sure they are being honest about how thy are spending the invested monies? If you are paying for your child’s expenses when he is at college, do you ahve the right to check up on things when his expenses seem way out of line? I mean, a few extra bucks on beer is one thing, but if he is hemorrhaging thousands of dollars and saying its for extra books it might be worth a trip to campus.

      So no, I don’t see theft from the government as quite the same thing. It can be, but I do not think, if the government was acting responsibly, that we would put up with Wikileaks at all. Its the overspending and then claiming its for something justifiable. Its the mismanagement of global affairs and then saying its just too complex for the minds of us “regular people” that has people giving a pass to Wikileaks. I don’t like wikileaks, I don’t like Assange, especially if he is guilty of sexual misconduct. I don’t like the government or the way it handles our money, nor the way it handles foreign affairs. Not likeing something does not justify theft, but when its my life that is impacted, the definition of theft gets a little fuzzy.

      • Jon asks: “So I take it you felt the same way about the climate-gate hackers?”

        D13 responds: Yes, I did. Even though it pointed out the hypocrisy of the global warming crowd and the fraud that it was.

        I also agre with you that there Must be a way to hold government accountable. Theft, in the name of greater good, is not the way. Where does it stop?

        Now, as to the hackers on Master Card….you did not say whether that was right or wrong, if that happens. I do not own a credit card so there would be no impact to me. I have never had a Master Card but I would be incensed if credit limits were released, for example. It just is not right.

        Jon asks: “If you are funding a company, do you have the right to check up on them to make sure they are being honest about how thy are spending the invested monies?”

        D13 says: Public companies that rely on investment funding from the public, put out quarterly statements and have yearly stock holder meetings….the financial information is in there….BUT….go to a stockholder meeting, as I have, and ask a specific question on details..and see what answer you get. Their requirement is to publish a quarterly statement, yearly balance sheet and financial statement. They are not required to post the details. Ask questions and the answers you will get are things like…”the numbers are in front of you and they are certified numbers. Any other information is proprietary.”….meaning, it is none of your business. You have a choice….hire an attorney to get the information or pull your investment. If you can do neither….you do not have a right to steal information under the guise that you wanted to know where your money is being spent.

        JOn says: “Not likeing something does not justify theft, but when its my life that is impacted, the definition of theft gets a little fuzzy.

        D13 says: “Your honesty is refreshing.”

        As to college and beer…..tried that…got caught.

        • Guess it depends on teh investment agreement. Stock holders are not on the same plane as private investors, but it would still be a matter of the terms set up between the investor and the business owner/operator. I guess the question is, hwat are the terms we have with our government (terms we have agreed to, not terms dicated to us).

          Your honesty is the refreshing one. 🙂

  33. LAWRENCE O’DONNELL, HOST: Roger, do you know what the bottom tax bracket is, what the actual percentage is in the bottom bracket, the one no one talks about? Everyone’s talking about the top bracket these days.

    Pretty simple question right? Apparently not for the former editor of Harper’s Magazine who was actually originally hired by them to be a – wait for it! – fact checker:

    ROGER HODGE: I’m sorry. I didn’t understand the question.

    Didn’t understand the question? This isn’t rocket science, Roger. He asked what the bottom marginal tax rate is. As a liberal that’s supposed to advocate for the poor, you should know this.

    Apparently not:

    O’DONNELL: The bottom tax bracket, do you know what it is, what percent it is?

    HODGE: No.

    Can you imagine that? This guy is on television discussing tax policy and he doesn’t know what the bottom tax rate is. Rather embarrassingly, O’Donnell had to tell him:

    O’DONNELL: It’s ten percent. That’s the George Bush bottom tax bracket. You know what happens in January if you don’t do something about it? It goes up to fifteen percent, which was the bottom tax bracket under Bill Clinton.

    HODGE: No one wants to see that happen.

    O’DONNELL: Wait a second. No one wants to see that, people are advocating that it happen.

    HODGE: No one —

    O’DONNELL: You are advocating that it happen.

    Indeed. But Hodge, much like many far-left writers, doesn’t know this for all they concern themselves with is raising taxes on the so-called rich.

    Moments later, O’Donnell exposed similar ignorance in Jane Hamsher of the far-left website Firedoglake:

    O’DONNELL: Jane Hamsher, as an advocate of a deal in the past, given everything that Ezra [Klein] has said about what’s actually contained in this deal, which includes, by the way, an expansion of the earned income tax credit which is an anti-poverty program built into the tax code that Republicans have never been in favor of, do you, do you agree with, with Ezra’s analysis of the, the net value of what’s in front of us compared to what we might see coming out of a Republican House of Representatives next year?

    Great question. Brace yourself for her absurd answer:

    JANE HAMSHER: I think the poor are being used as human shields to give billionaires tax cuts. I think that there is no way you can argue with a straight face that having an estate tax that is even better for rich people than anything George Bush ever had is in any way stimulative.

    What? The estate tax rate this year is zero. Does Hamsher not know this? It was front and center when Yankee owner George Steinbrenner died earlier in the year, and liberal media members bemoaned all the lost tax revenues due to the current estate tax rate.

    Now, in fairness to Hamsher, if Congress does nothing, the rate goes back to 55 percent on estates over $1 million. However, as O’Donnell pointed out, that’s not what they are at the current time:

    O’DONNELL: But hold it, hold it. No, that’s not true. The estate tax today is zero. It is zero. There is a zero estate tax. The estate tax on January 1st, under the Obama deal, will be 35 percent on estates of $5 million and above. So, we have a zero estate tax. Not, let’s not let anyone pretend that the estate tax next year is somehow going to be lower than what George Bush managed to achieve for this year. You don’t get lower than zero.

    HAMSHER: I’m sorry, Lawrence, this is not stimulative. There is no way — it was suggested by Blanche Lincoln. Keith Olbermann tonight was blistering in his attack on this.

    And there it is: Keith Olbermann doesn’t like this, so his sycophant minions in the liberal blogosphere, without much knowledge of the facts, also don’t like it.

    As for being stimulative, regardless of whether or not you think keeping taxes at their current rates for the top two percent of wage earners is stimulative, does Hamsher think raising taxes on such folks will help the economy?

    If the argument here was whether or not this was a good budgetary issue given the deficit, that’s a whole different matter. But if what was most important to her was stimulating the economy, then as Klein and O’Donnell pointed out earlier in the segment, this total package was far more stimulative than keeping tax rates on 98 percent of wage earners at current levels and raising taxes on the top two percent.

    In the end, and as hard as it is for me to say this, O’Donnell’s position was largely correct. Although Obama caved on a huge issue that could come back to haunt him in 2012 – and given the fulminating on the far-left, that seems very possible – what he got out of this deal was far better for his constituents.

    These folks not only won’t have their taxes go up on January 1, but they will also get a variety of other incentives and deductions they wouldn’t have gotten if the deal exclusively involved the Bush era rates.

    But folks like Hamsher and Hodge can’t see that. What was most important to them was the so-called rich paying more than they currently do, and everything else was at best secondary.

    This raises another point: if O’Donnell wants to discuss tax policy on his show, wouldn’t it be better to have guests on that understand the issues?

    That one member of his panel didn’t know what the bottom marginal tax rate was, and another didn’t realize that federal estate taxes are currently the lowest they can possibly be, is just as embarrassing for him as it is for them.

    Or does O’Donnell do that intentionally so that he is always the smartest man on the set?

    You got to admit – that’s quite a feat.

    Read more: http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2010/12/08/lawrence-odonnell-exposes-liberal-ignorance-tax-code#ixzz17WtxoV7h

  34. JAC, you are correct on the 99 weeks – which is still way too long.

    Michelle Malkin has a nice piece on it today.

    http://michellemalkin.com/2010/12/08/small-biz-killers-who-pays-for-jobless-benefits/

    • State unemployment benefits last up to 26 weeks. Bipartisan-supported Washington mandates have raised that to 99 weeks. The current proposal would extend eligibility for this basket of benefits until the end of 2011. The cost of the joint federal-state program is borne by employers who pay state and federal taxes on a portion of wages paid to each employee in a calendar year. (At the federal level, employers must pay 6.2 percent of the first $7,000 of income to keep the system afloat.)

      The combined burden of these hidden state and federal payroll taxes has exploded during the recession as President Obama’s economic recovery interventions backfire and the jobless rate remains stuck near double-digits. State unemployment insurance funds have gone broke in nearly half the states. As of April 2010, unemployment tax analyst Douglas Holmes testified before the Senate, 35 states and jurisdictions had unemployment fund-related debts worth $39.5 billion. Anti-fraud efforts to prevent scams and overpayments are woefully underfunded.

      In an interminable money shuffle, these bankrupt state unemployment insurance funds are now borrowing money from the feds, whose own regular unemployment benefits account and extended benefits account are both in the red. Washington is relying on transfers from the federal general revenue fund to cover loan obligations related to all these hemorrhaging accounts.

      Who pays? Dentists, tavern owners, maid services, mom-and-pop shops — small businesses that are the backbone of the American economy. In my home state of Colorado, small and mid-size firms have been saddled with eye-popping unemployment insurance bills that have doubled, tripled and more in the past year. The businesses that have the lowest claims histories are getting punished the most to make up the jobless benefits fund deficit.

      Greg Howard, owner of McCabe’s Tavern in Colorado Springs, told the Colorado Springs Gazette his bill spiked a whopping 600 percent. “It’s enough to T you off a little bit,” Howard told the newspaper. “The dollar amount isn’t tremendous, but it’s going up six times.”

      A small commercial painting contractor told me this week that her nine-person company’s 1st quarter UI bill has gone from $1,000 to more than $6,500 over the past three years. “It’s killing us!” she told me. “How can we hire additional employees? This is a big increase in addition to the health insurance annual increases, etc. We had to reduce our employees’ wages by 10 percent this year, and who knows when we will be able to bump them back up?”

  35. What makes a story “newsworthy”? Our towering intellectual President making another false statement without challenge, to promote his agenda.

    Read more: http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2010/12/07/obama-again-says-social-security-originally-widows-and-orphans-only#ixzz17WvxxApl

    Obama Again Says Social Security Originally for Widows and Orphans Only

    As for Social Security, the first recipient of such a benefits check was “a retired Cleveland motorman named Ernest Ackerman, who retired one day after the Social Security program began. During his one day of participation in the program, a nickel was withheld from Mr. Ackerman’s pay for Social Security, and, upon retiring, he received a lump-sum payment of 17 cents.”

    Safe to say Ackerman was neither a widow nor an orphan.

    Indeed. And as John J. Pitney Jr. pointed out at National Review Tuesday, “Ida May Fuller, who in 1939 became the first beneficiary of recurring monthly Social Security payments, had worked as a legal secretary and was single.”

    It must be nice to be a Democrat and be able to say whatever you want, regardless of factual basis, with total impunity. Just imagine the media firestorm such a repeated error would create if Obama was a Republican.

    • Naw, lets make up a story on Palin’s daughter instead.

      Read more: http://www.newsbusters.org/#ixzz17WxHb1E3

      MSNBC Devotes ‘News’ Time to Asking if Bristol Palin Has a Facebook Ghost Writer
      By: Tim Graham | December 07, 2010 | 18:01

      In what may fairly be assumed is a response to Bristol Palin slamming Keith Olbermann on Facebook, MSNBC stooped on Monday afternoon to speculating that Bristol’s Facebook posts are written by a ghost writer, since the words in her posts sound too advanced for a young Palin.

      Anchor Thomas Roberts was conducting a light interview with comedian Sherrod Small of VH-1’s The Short List, and said “Now the young reality TV star is using the page to slam certain critics out there and fire back at people that come at her.” Small joked: “If she’s using subjects and predicates together in a sentence, somebody else is writing it for her.”

  36. I received an interesting call last night.

    Caller: Hello, I’m with a debt collection agency, blah blah blah.

    Mathius: Hello.

    Caller: May I speak to M****** ********

    Mathius: Speaking.

    Caller: Can you please verify the last four digits of your social?

    Mathius: No.

    Caller: …

    Mathius: …

    Caller: Is is 6709?

    Mathius: No.

    Caller: Ok, never mind. ::click::

    Now, my questions are three:

    (A) Was this an attempted scam to get me to provide personal information?
    (B) Should I worry about my credit being impacted anyway?
    (C) Has anyone used or can anyone recommend a credit monitoring service? LifeLock comes to mind.

    • I think LifeLock is who Rush recommends….

      • Beck does too, I hope that does not make them off-limits Matt. 🙂

        Seriously tho, I think it was a scam, otherwise he would not have offerred the 4 digits he did. I do not know if your credit can be impacted, but I would watch my accounts closely if you choose not to use a service. You can watch the credit reports, but that is only part of the story, watch your accounts that need verification for changes. Credit cards, cell phone accoutns, etc. It’s not so much a purchase I would worry about as a change to the accounts themselves. With a phone number and last 4 digits of social I could probably add a line to a cell phone account and use it at least until the next billing cycle, longer if the account was on autopay and the owner did not watch their bills closely.

        • Well if Beck and Limbaugh recommend it, I’m out. Are there any liberal-approved options? Should I contact Ariana Huffington?

    • (A) yes
      (B) some
      (C) Lifelock amounts to an insurance policy. They will monitor your credit, which you can do just as well. There are three credit reporting companies that are required by law to share information, so Lifelock just does that for you. I have not used them, so I may be off on some services they provide, but I did research this when our credit cards were stolen a few months back.

      • Yea, but they’re only required to provide information once every six months, aren’t they? After six months, the damage is already done, no?

    • You ddn’t trace my number did you?

    • Mathius,

      It was a scam.

      Check your house insurance. Many companies are providing identity theft insurance.

      • Your thoughts on utilizing a company like LikeLock?

        • Mathius,

          I could not verify the cost.

          My take:
          The services they provide are nothing more than what you can do for yourself – if you do it for yourself.

          If you do not want to manage your own financial identity, then I suppose this is valuable.

          For me, I have no interest in such a service. I rarely use credit cards. I only use debit cards at the machines of my bank that are located at the bank – in other words, I use the machine to replace waiting for a human bank teller.

          I use cash for all my purchases. I do not participate in any “customer appreciation” plans that give “points” for purchases.

          I also know I am not “normal”. I also know if more acted as I did, there would be massive social change in the financial and criminal marketplace – some for good, and maybe some for the worse.

          • BF

            How do you pay your other bills?

            Your not sending cash through the mail.

            So is it checks?

            • Hi JAC…..sorry to butt in but I do the same as BF although the only bills that I have are utilities. I have no car payments and mortgage is paid. I use Frost Bank business section. I simply send them my bill amounts and they will cut me cashiers checks made payable. That is how I do it. I make a bank run every two weeks so picking up those checks is very easy. The only bills I have tho are water/lights and a once a year property tax bill.

            • JAC,

              Things like utilities, etc. I pay online via a cash account that is essentially empty until “payment date”.

              Internet purchases: I use an “online credit card” such as “Neteller” that is funded by a cash-payment system , such as “uKash” out of the UK.

              • JAC,

                Also, things like prepaid “credit cards” Mastercard or VISA “Gift” cards can be used to anonymously purchases goods and services.

              • And the pirate is completely off the grid. He’s a ghost.

              • Mathius,

                Almost….

                …things like car rentals and hotel rooms still tend to require a CCard to get the room or car intially, though at settlement I always pay cash – but there is a “small” trail – the pre-auth. But I’m working on that too…. 😉

              • I wasn’t talking about you. I was talking about the Dread Pirate – in fact, the only evidence that he exists at all can be found on this blog.

              • Indeed.

                And a few more problems to be solved and I’ll disappear too.

              • Bottom Line says:

                In terms of being a ghost, I probably have you all beat.

                I only use cash, and I don’t even have a bank account. Try to steal my $$$ and you’ll likely get cut in half with a shotgun. (I use mean shells)

                I pay whatever bills via money order, and anything in my name (which is VERY little)is registered to another address than my actual one.

                And I don’t fill out my correct information on anything I don’t absolutely have to.

                Even a pro would have a hell of a time finding me, and I would likely anticipate them coming.

              • Bottom Line, I’m with the publisher’s Clearing house and you’ve just won $1,000,000. Just tell us where to send the check.

              • Bottom Line says:

                HOLD THAT CHECK, PCH!

                I’m on my way to pick it up. Where is YOUR bank located?

                Oh, and BTW, where can I purchase gold bullion around there?

                🙂

              • I’m sorry, but we have to hand deliver it – you know, the giant check at your door schtick.. Just tell us where to show up.

              • The point:

                Privacy takes hard work.

              • Bottom Line says:

                Indeed it does.

                I’ve gone out of my way to be a “ghost”.

  37. Lots of hunters on SUFA. Try to top this! Awesome story.

    86-Year-Old Man Hunts From Recliner, Bags Buck
    Pa. Man Has Late-Stage Cancer

    ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Lester Warner left the hospital in a weakened state last month, his frail body wracked by late-stage cancer. At 86 years old, he and his family had decided to stop treatment. But that didn’t mean he planned to stop hunting.

    Pennsylvania’s highly anticipated two-week rifle deer season was fast approaching, and the lifelong hunter from Dover Township, about 30 miles south of Harrisburg, wanted to take to the woods one last time.

    “He just assumed he would be going. We decided we were going to play along with it: ‘Yeah, we can’t wait for hunting season, Dad,'” recalled Warner’s son, Brian.

    Brian and his brother Scott were skeptical. But when their father started to rally – gaining strength with the help of a physical therapist – they decided they had better accommodate him, said Brian, 51.

    So Brian lugged an old recliner up the side of Broadtop Mountain, near his Huntingdon County dairy farm, to the small hut the family had built for Les Warner years ago. His father would hunt in comfort.

    It was 19 degrees as the sun rose on opening day last week, the valley floor white with frost. Warner eased his old man’s frame into the recliner, sipped his coffee, and waited, armed with the .243 Winchester that Brian had selected for its mild recoil.

    It wasn’t long before a huge 8-point buck emerged from the woods, the biggest that Warner or his son had ever had the opportunity to take. They marveled at their good fortune. A hunter can go days without seeing a buck.

    “Well, shoot it,” Warner told Brian.

    “No, you’re gonna shoot it,” his son replied.

    Warner stood up from the recliner and took aim. The buck bolted. He followed it for 80 or 90 yards. Then, as it slowed down, he pulled the trigger.

    A perfect shot.

    Lowering the gun, Warner turned to his son and said: “Never give up.”

    “That’s right, Dad.”

    Brian called his mother. Shirley Warner could scarcely believe it.

    “Knowing what he’s been through in the last six months, in and out of the hospital, radiation and chemo and physical therapy and really sick at times, I was shocked. In my wildest dreams I didn’t think he would get a buck this year,” said Shirley, who’s been married to Les for 53 years. “My son and I cried because it was a miracle … there’s no other explanation.”

    A week later, the retired pretzel baker remains thankful.

    “I know I’ve had many blessings through this situation,” said Les Warner, whose story was first reported by the York Daily Record. “Everything seems to be turning out well for me, and I know the Lord’s been with us.”

    • Why is it a great thing that a dying man, as one of his last acts, killed a living creature? Why is that worth celebrating?

      I just don’t understand.

    • Kathy….cant top it but probably can get close. On our ranch, we have quite a population of Wild Turkey (no, not the wino kind, Matt). Myself, my son, and my dad were going to do the manly art of hunting for a turley for the dinner table. We get up at 0500 (5am for you civilian types) and strike out on the grand turkey hunt. Camoflage…the whole shebang…..saddle the horses and off we go. We bring our horse butt sore bodies home 8 hours later….without the game we sought. Only to find a turkey in the oven dressing made, green beans on the stove….you get the picture. As it turns out, mother gets up an hour after we leave on our hunters trek…showers…eats a hot breakfast…and starts to prepare the incidentals to supplement our great kill. She looks up from the kitchen window to notice a whole flock of turkeys walking past the house on the way to a pond below. She grabs an always loaded 4-10 shotgun, walks out on the front porch, picks a TOM…and blam…dinner. To add insult to our ego…it was a head shot without injuring any of the others in the flock. One of our ranch hands hears the shot. Fearing a snake or some such emergency runs up to the main house where mom has claimed her kill…he guts it, feathers it and hands it back. She didnt even have to clean it…….SOOOOOO…….you can imagine that when the great meat gatherers returned home….SIGH…………still have not heard the end of that story and it was over 20 years ago. Our egos are forever bruised and she never forgets to tell that story in a crowd.

      • GO MAMA D ! Who needs men?

        • One time, I wanted to go get dinner myself – just the once – a truly fresh turkey for thanksgiving. I head out at 8AM (0800 for you military types) to a place someone told me about. I jump in my car with my friend who has some experience. Well, anyway, I drive way into the middle of nowhere, I mean the middle of the middle of nowhere. I park my car and get out and the second I do, I see ’em. Dozens of them, just sitting there waiting for me, less than 100 feet away. I couldn’t believe it. Fat ones, too – not those scrawny gamey things you usually see around. They looked delicious!

          So, what do I do? I cross the parking lot, walk into the store, buy one of the turkeys (de-feathered, pre-basted), bring it home, and pop it in the oven. What an adventure!

          • Buck the Wala says:

            Delicious!

            • That does it!

              Matt and Buck are last in the chow line at the SUFA gathering!

              cccccccccity boys! pfft!

              • Well life’s in the city is kinda tough
                Ain’t much an old city boy like me can hack
                It’s early to rise early in the sack
                Thank God I’m a city boy!

                A crazy kind of life never did me no harm
                Raisin’ me a family and workin’ in an office
                My days are all filled with an big city charm
                Thank God I’m a city boy!

                Well I got me a fine wife I made a few bucks
                When the sun’s comin’ up I got coffee at Starbucks
                And life ain’t nothin’ unless your commute sucks
                Thank God I’m a city boy!

                (Offered with my sincerest apologies to John Denver)

              • LOI to the rescue 3…2…1..

              • Forget that.. I’ll handle it!

                Here’s to ya LOI:

              • Anita,

                Thankee
                kindly.

                That helps get Matts words out of my head.

              • Matt,

                Really bad. How about,

                Breathing in the clean air?
                They are kidding? Right?

              • EXCELLANT! I knew you’d have a good one lined up! Two thumbs up!

      • One better for you D13, my uncle killed a tom turkey off his back porch with a sling shot.

      • That’s a good one D13. Must be something with turkey hunting. Years ago, early in their marriage, my sister and brother-in-law decided they didn’t really have that much in common so they each came up with a couple things they really liked that they would appreciate the other joining them on. My BIL – BIG hunter – all game. Well it was turkey season so he said he’d like to have my sister join him occasionally hunting. So she took some gun safety classes, went to the range a few times and got up really early to join him. Saw nothing all day. She said “OK, tried that” and was ready to pack it in, but my BIL convinced her to give it another try the next day. This time, she packs a book to read to pass the time.

        She’s sitting against a tree, reading and along comes a big tom. She picks up the gun, aims, fires, hits it. BIL comes running when he hears gun and there lays her prize. Got pic in the newspaper and everything – it was hilarious because she never hesitated to tell what she was doing when turkey came along; which totally makes a joke of all the prep, planning, keen concentration blah, blah, that hunters like to talk about.

        She also decided to retire from hunting that day.

      • Another hunting story. Sarah shoots a caribou on her show and this is how some nutjob reacts to it. I’m guessing he is an urban dweller.

        http://dailycaller.com/2010/12/08/aaron-sorkin-throws-huge-fit-over-sarah-palin-shooting-a-caribou/

        Aaron Sorkin throws huge fit over Sarah Palin shooting a caribou

        • Saw that.. thought it was well written. I really like Aaron Sorkin. He does have some legitimate points in there.

          Note, he’s not against hunting or killing/eating/wearing animals. He’s only pointing out that she’s doing it for political gain and deliberately trying to draw liberal fire so that she can pander to her base. If you disagree, I’d be happy to argue most (not all) of it point by point.

          • Matt..What is there to debate? The show is entertainment in nature not political. It’s not like she suddenly turned hunter and is using that to gain support. She’s from Alaska and proud of it. So what if she’s making a buck from it. There is no way to prove she’s doing it for political gain. If so, prove it.

            • Everything she does is political in nature.

            • Ray Hawkins says:

              @Anita – I absolutely agree with Mathius on this one – count yourself as successfully duped Anita – sure it was “meant” as entertainment – how else to sell Sarah (and to a lesser extent Alaska) – but only to the extent to continue to wire you even more as a Sarah-bot. Don’t all women aspire to be faux-frontierswomen with expensive manicures, $500 specs and hands covered in caribou blood as you drive to the hockey game growling like a mama grizzly, tweeting and facebooking about the global issue du jour?

              I’ve watched her show – too staged and smarmy if you ask me.

              Only question to answer Anita – do you get a thrill go up your leg when watching it?

              • I tried to watch a bit of it, but after my third stroke in five minutes, I ran screaming out of the room.

                Actually, I scrawled out of the room since the overload of countrified frontiersmanship has left me paralyzed from the waste down.

              • crawled out of the room, not scrawled.. unfortunately, the doctors tell me that I may have permanently damaged my ability to spell after the second stroke. The Tourette’s -CARIBOU LASAGNA! – should pass soon.

              • Yes I did get a thrill Ray on the 1/2 episode I watched. I too am an adventure nut, love nature and the outdoors, I love fishing and camping, working in the woods, it’s all me! Alaska is a beautiful state and I hope to visit there before I die. That’s all I got out of it. You guys are looking for a hidden meaning. So be it. TLC got their best ratings ever from her first show. She draws record crowds wherever she goes. Sells tons of books. The American Dream in action. What’s the problem?

              • CARIBOU LASAGNA!

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                So it worked Anita – that’s all…..

  38. I thought there was some usefull economic info in this presentation. Mathius, learn to hunt! 🙂

  39. My slapping around of Buck, above, has a motivation and a point.

    The deficit-reduction commission died, exactly as it was designed to do.

    It did not get enough votes to get it to Congress, which would then have had to bury it in committee — which would be bad politics — too obvious and would continue the public talking.

    A simple majority on this panel was not enough to get it submitted, according to the rules.

    It had to vote 14 to 4 to get its recommendations submitted to Congress.

    That was, of course, impossible, as Obama’s handlers knew from day one.

    It only got 11 to 7. That was another example of the Punch & Judy show.
    It was all political theater.

    Nothing will be done to balance the budget.
    That is why bankruptcy is inevitable.

    The capital markets do not care.
    The markets care only about a few months down the road.

    A few of us see what is happening.
    We are concerned.
    We see that a disaster is coming.

    The world sees the numbers, but it assumes that numbers are irrelevant.
    Numbers can be voted away by Congress, they think.
    Numbers and reality can be separated forever by more deals.

    This gives People like us time to prepare.

    Do not waste this time.

    • Buck the Wala says:

      Hmm…must have missed this post yesterday.

      Its funny. I don’t feel slapped around.

      You go prepare for your doomsday. I’m not too worried about it.

      • Buck

        not worried

        I was not commenting on your “worry” – I was commenting on your failure of providing any coherent solution.

        You have offered nothing more than some superficial comments, such as “cut budget” with zero contemplation regarding the means and the consequences of such.

        Without such additional “heavy thinking”, you sit back and proclaim “ah, BF is proclaiming doomsday” – but it is you who sits in denial and fantasy.

        The folly of the unprepared is not the lack of preparedness.

        Their folly exists in the lack of understanding and foresight.

        It is one thing to see the coming disaster, and be incapable of moving out of the way.

        It is a wholly other thing to close one’s eyes and pretend it doesn’t exist.

        • Buck the Wala says:

          You believe there is a coming disaster. I believe there may be coming ‘greater hardship’ but no disaster. You seek to prepare for your beliefs, I commend you for it – but do not criticize those who do not believe there is such a disaster coming. You see me as sitting in ‘denial and fantasy’ for not seeing this disaster that you are so sure is coming. I can just as easily say that I see you sitting in your own fantasy world, so sure of this disaster that is just nto coming.

          Yes, I may have only offered superficial comments in my post, but that does not mean I have not given it serious thought and contemplation in reaching my views.

          • Buck

            You believe there is a coming disaster. I believe there may be coming ‘greater hardship’ but no disaster.

            I have provided the logic and reasoning behind my beliefs.

            In review:
            * never in history has the size of the financial debt and risk been more severe.

            * in all scenarios, it is politically impossible to reverse the current outlays of government.

            * in all scenarios, the size of debt and risk increases exponentially.

            * in all scenarios, very few are preparing for the inevitable consequence of financial contraction and default.

            You can define the consequences in any subjective-paint color you wish “hardship” (rolleyes).

            Given that this is in magnitude greater than any financial disruption in history, your weak evaluation to be merely “hardship” cannot be supported.

            It will be a disaster.

            You seek to prepare for your beliefs, I commend you for it – but do not criticize those who do not believe there is such a disaster coming.

            I do, and will continue to, criticize those that do not prepare.

            My reason:
            when hell on earth comes, you will be knocking at my door begging for help because you did not prepare when you could have

            I will not enjoy sending desperate helpless people away.

            so sure of this disaster that is just nto coming.

            My position is created not by wish, but by following the inevitable line of reasoning that achieves a consequence and a conclusion.

            I did not start my process by inventing the conclusion.

            I did not start by saying:
            “The world suffer a disaster”… and then work backwards to define the conditions of such disaster.

            I started from the conditions as they exist, the solutions that are required, the impossibility of the solutions to be applied, and the consequences of the lack of applied solutions.

            You have started your process backwards by inventing your conclusion, that it, claiming:

            It won’t be a disaster … and then stopping right there.

            Yes, I may have only offered superficial comments in my post, but that does not mean I have not given it serious thought and contemplation in reaching my views.

            Nothing presented, therefore there is nothing.

            • Buck,

              Addendum:

              You can’t beat something with nothing

              • Buck the Wala says:

                once again…sigh.

                You cast aside my conclusions simply because they do not mesh with your own. Yes, you use your own logic and reasoning to reach your conclusions. However, this does not mean that I failed to use logic and reasoning to reach my own conclusions.

              • Buck,
                I cast aside your conclusions not because they may disagree with mine, but because they are not supported by one shred of argument

                You offer pure conjuncture, without any reason or argument.

                You are, and have been, mute in providing such.

  40. Does President Obama Understand Economics?

    By John Lott

    Published December 07, 2010

    | FoxNews

    Neither government spending nor tax cuts automatically provide an economic stimulus. But President Obama has continued to make this mistake. Take a look at much of what he insisted be included in his tax cut deal with congressional Republicans.

    So what makes the economic pie bigger? There are two sides to this. The supply side: lower marginal tax rates mean the more that people get to keep from each additional dollar that they earn, the harder that they will work and the more that they will produce.

    The other view, the Keynesian view, also often called “the demand side view” or “the multiplier,” is that giving the money to the right people to spend which will create wealth. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made this claim earlier this year when she advocated more unemployment insurance benefits: “it injects demand into the economy and is job creating. It creates jobs faster than almost any other initiative you can name. Because again it is money that is needed for families to survive and it is spent.”

    We see this line of reasoning in the proposed 13-month extension of unemployment insurance benefits to continue paying out benefits for up to 99 weeks.

    It is also the basis for the president’s proposed expansion of the earn income tax credit and items such as the college-tuition tax credit for relatively lower-income families.

    The problem with this multiplier claim is pretty simple. First, the money has to come from some place.

    Second, everyone spends their money one way or another. This claim of some people “spending” their money while others are “saving” it really assumes that saving is the equivalent of burying one’s money in a hole in the backyard. In reality, if you don’t spend your money, you are putting it in the bank or you are putting it in stocks or bonds, which means you are giving it to someone else to spend.

    Even when a poor person spends his money at the local grocery store, that business is going to either spend it or put it in the bank. Taking money from wealthy people and giving it to poor people doesn’t create more spending. It just alters who gets to choose where the money is spent.

    President Obama keeps pointing to the tax cuts that he supports, but his tax cuts actually discourage work for one simple reason: they increase marginal tax rates. Obama’s tax cuts increase marginal tax rates because they are phased out as people make more income. You get the earned income tax credit or the college tuition credit but as you earn more money more of those credits are taken away from you. Those lost tax benefits are on top of the unchanged official marginal tax brackets.

    There is never a good time for the country to have increased penalties resulting from harder work but surely this is not the time for it, when so many people are already hurting.

    Of course, far from stimulating the economy, the increased unemployment insurance benefits also discourage people from working. People only receive the unemployment insurance as well as assistance paying their mortgages and health insurance as long as they are unemployed. — There is a real dollar penalty as soon as they take a job.

    Disappointingly, so many members of the media measure the stimulus by just counting up the money that is spent. Take the New York Times’ David Leonhardt, who writes the paper’s “Economix” column. On Monday, he wrote about the stimulus in terms of “the amount of money pumped into the ailing economy,” not in terms of the incentives created for work. And how about last Friday, December 3, when he included an extension of unemployment insurance benefits are among the measures “that are more likely to create jobs.”

    All that said, there is one new proposal pushed by President Obama that does lower marginal tax rates, that is the one-year, 2 percentage point reduction in Social Security taxes. But it lowers the marginal tax rates for most people by much less than his proposal to phase out the different tax credits will raise the rates.

    Increased marginal tax rates will clearly be bad for the economy. But President Obama just can’t let go of the old Keynesian arguments that have failed so spectacularly over the last two years.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2010/12/07/does-president-obama-understand-economics/#ixzz17YHRxoaq

  41. Warning! Raybomb. Do not read if Palin being smarter than a liberal talking head offends you.:lol:

    CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Look, I know people in our business, Pat, who I do, I mean on television, who I don’t think they know hardly anything about America’s political history or politics today. They can express left-wing or right-wing opinions easy. That’s easy. That’s gut stuff. But I would like to see a lot of people that I work with around this business, and I’d like to ask them, “Just name the presidents in your lifetime?” I think they would falter. I think Sarah Palin might have a serious problem with some basic information.

    Exactly two minutes earlier:

    PAT BUCHANAN: Winston Churchill said it very well: “Anybody who thinks democracy is the best form of government ought to spend five minutes with the average voter.”

    MATTHEWS: No, he said, he said, “The worst form of government except for all the others…

    BUCHANAN: No, he said that, too.

    MATTHEWS: …that have been tried from time to time.” Don’t challenge me on Churchill. I’m the Churchillian, you’re the guy with Chamberlain.

    Actually, Buchanan was right.

    According to QuoteDB.com, Churchill said, “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

    According to the Quotations Page, Churchill also said, “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”

    It appears Matthews should be careful who he throws stones at in his glass house.

    Furthering the matter, the words “It has been said” imply that Churchill was actually quoting someone else. As Richard M. Langworth observed:

    Churchill said it (House of Com­mons, 11 Novem­ber 1947)—but he was quot­ing an unknown pre­de­ces­sor. From Churchill by Him­self, page 574:

    Many forms of Gov­ern­ment have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pre­tends that democ­racy is per­fect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democ­racy is the worst form of Gov­ern­ment except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…

    As such, Matthews was really wrong – but Palin’s the dope.

    Read more: http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2010/12/07/matthews-calls-palin-stupid-moments-after-erring-churchill-quote#ixzz17YImbEgq

    • VIEIRA: Plus you’re with a woman with a gun. The whole thing makes me nervous, you know?
      (So does Vieira have a problem with an experienced hunter and shooter being female? Having indoor plumbing makes a liberal TV hostess disqualify you from holding or using a firearm? I wonder what else seeing women do makes her nervous? Driving a car? Voting?)

      The Today show cast, on Tuesday, previewed a guest appearance by reality show star Kate Gosselin on Sarah Palin’s TLC show, and after showing a clip of the former Alaska Governor frightening the celebrity mother of eight kids by firing off a gun, Vieira revealed she shared Gosselin’s fears as she yelped: “You’re with a woman with a gun. The whole thing makes me nervous, you know?”

      The following is the full segment as it was aired on the December 7 Today show:

      MEREDITH VIEIRA: So what happens when the Momma Grizzly meets Momma Gosselin?

      MATT LAUER: Well the world is gonna find out this weekend when Sarah Palin welcomes Kate Gosselin and her eight kids to Alaska for a guest appearance on her TLC show Sarah Palin’s Alaska. Take a look.

      SARAH PALIN: How would you like to go camping with Kate and her eight kids?

      KATE GOSSELIN: I have never camped for real.

      PALIN: Our ruggedness is really a mystery to people in the lower 48.

      [Palin shoots gun]

      GOSSELIN: Holy!

      UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You’re gonna have a high population of bears. It’s gonna go.

      PALIN: She’s gonna rely on me to protect her.

      GOSSELIN: I am freezing to the bone.

      PALIN: C’mon. It wasn’t that bad.

      VIEIRA: Yeah I don’t think Kate took to-

      NATALIE MORALES: Roughing it?

      VIEIRA: Yeah, no.LAUER: You don’t think she’s the roughing it type?

      VIEIRA: I don’t think she likes it.

      AL ROKER: Roughing it to her is a Holiday Inn without cable.

      VIEIRA: Plus you’re with a woman with a gun. The whole thing makes me nervous, you know?

      ROKER: Yeah, there’s that.

      LAUER: Alright.

      MORALES: It’ll get good ratings, I’m sure.

      VIEIRA: Oh I’m sure…

      ROKER: Oh please!

      VIEIRA: I think that, that Sarah Palin’s daughter Piper, is a big fan of Kate Plus 8, as well.

      MORALES: Yeah she is.

      VIEIRA: So it’s nice, yeah.

      Read more: http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/geoffrey-dickens/2010/12/07/meredith-vieira-seeing-sarah-palin-gun-makes-me-nervous#ixzz17YK1PIB6

    • Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Sr., Clinton, Bush,Jr., ummmm there’s one more…

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      @LOI – I’m not sure why you think this “proves” Palin is smarter than Chris Matthews – it merely shows what a tool Matthews is. This isn’t even remotely clever LOI. You can do better!

      • Ray,

        I just thought it was funny. I started to watch her Alaska show once, it was so over the top scripted I switch channels after 30 seconds.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          @LOI – you’re probably right there – I cannot stand to even listen or see Matthews anymore – he is such a colossal asshole.

          I should amend my remarks above to say that with respect to the Alaska show and other ventures Sarah is actually quite smart. She is using her own divisiveness to appeal to wide swath of people that just eat up everything Sarah – a smart move to cash in on and extend her 15 minutes pretty darn far. I don’t think it helps make a case for her to be POTUS but the hell knows what is going to fly in two years right?

          • Ray,

            Good points! I agree Palin is smart, and has turned a VP loss into a personal win. I wonder if those attacking her have not made her into such a success? Many of the attacks are personal, and lack substance, but give her free publicity. Add to that, Americans naturally rise to the defense of women.

            I think they would have been better off to ignore Palin and Beck, and both would have gained less fame.

            • Ray Hawkins says:

              @LOI – you hit the nail on the head – of course the attacks of helped increase her popularity – her base gets even more energized and those who aren’t her base but not necessarily opposed to her end having to look and see and check it out.

              As for candidacy for her – I think for her there is a fine line between the slightly coy approach she has used to date to inject herself into the debate and to “have an opinion” which is somewhat easily derided by the left – she is often dismissed as dumb, stupid, or just an attractive/hot bitch that has some good handlers that feed the beast (hell – even I’ve done some of that quite a bit). The other side of that line is if or how she can take a slight step at better credentialing herself rather than continuing to build the hockey mom / momma grizzly persona she has spent time cultivating and making a shitload of money off of. That is what will make her a somewhat credible candidate rather than another Christine O’Donnell type.

              Anyway – post some more classic rock vids my man! Tis better than the crap on my iPod!

  42. http://www.slate.com/id/2276892/

    Is “Sex by Surprise” Illegal in the United States?
    How would the alleged Swedish sex crimes of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange fare in an American court?
    By Jessica GrosePosted Monday, Dec. 6, 2010, at 6:20 PM ET

    Julian Assange. Click image to expand.Julian AssangeJulian Assange’s lawyer told AOL News on Thursday that the WikiLeaks founder has been charged with “sex by surprise” in Sweden. Though the lawyer says he doesn’t know what “sex by surprise” means, the Swedish prosecution office announced that they are charging Assange with “rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion.” These charges allegedly stem from consensual sexual encounters with two separate women that became nonconsensual at some point during the act. (Update, Dec. 7, 2010: Julian Assange was arrested in Britain by an extradition unit on Swedish charges of unlawful coercion, sexual molestation, and rape.) If this had happened in the United States, could Assange have been charged with a crime?

    Possibly. The traditional common-law rule is that there needs to be both lack of consent and the threat of physical force in order for a sexual violation to constitute rape. By that standard, Assange might be in the clear if his alleged activities took place in the United States (and if no violence was involved). But in some states, lack of consent can by itself serve as the basis for a rape charge. The exact circumstances under which a woman might revoke her consent varies: In Illinois, for example, it is considered rape if a woman says “no” at any time during sex and her partner does not stop. Other states are vague on the question of whether someone can change her mind after penetration has occurred. And some courts have been very clear that consent is locked in once intercourse has begun.

    There used to be even more requirements for a woman to bring rape charges. Until the legal reform movement that began in the 1970s, a prosecutor would take on a case only if the woman could corroborate that the rape had occurred—her own testimony was insufficient without a third-party witness or evidence of serious injury. That requirement has been dropped from most state rape laws. Feminist reformers also tried to do away with the idea that rape must include at least the threat of physical force, but with less success. The so-called “resistance requirement”—as in, the woman must try to resist the attack—has remained on the books in most states, albeit in a watered-down form. For example, a woman no longer has to prove that she fought back to the best of her ability—she only needs to prove that she did enough to let her partner know she did not want sex.

    • I’ve heard some great quips on this “Sex by Surprise”

      How stupid.

      • I think they are making a mistake. Government only works if most of the people “trust” in the rule of law(Stossel show). As this reports, he needs to be tested for STD’s to satisfy the complaint. Does not justify holding without bail. If the US or another wronged government
        has filed charges where he broke that nation’s laws, then it would be legitimate. This seems pretty clear, the UK government is acting outside the law, enabled by the offended nations.

        “I’ve heard some great quips on this “Sex by Surprise””
        Run with it, could use some humor.

  43. Budgets/Deficits and Debt

    Here is a little graphic of where we are headed with deficits, assuming our revenue holds at traditional levels of GDP.

    http://www.heritage.org/budgetchartbook/entitlements-consume-economy

  44. I also know I am not “normal”.

    December 8, 2010

    • I really know that feeling. Gotten to be damn good at being different.

      Anita, what do you think of Fuel?

      • When I was blue
        stone blue
        rock & roll helped me thru

      • Hmmm..never heard of them but I like that tune!

        I was curious if Kathy’s statement was her manifesto! Cmon to Hawaii with me Kathy!

        • Scratch my manifesto comment..I see you’re setting a pirate up for a future comment!

          You can still come to Hawaii with me!

          • Just noting his admission on this day. Something we’ve all suspected and he’s now confirmed.

            Which means there is a chance that Barry will someday admit he is a Muslim, not born in Hawaii, he is a Socialist and he is trying to destroy the US!

  45. Black Flag: I read an article on fractional reserve banking at The Freeman. The article is below. This is not what I thought fractional reserve banking is. Can you comment on this article?

    http://www.thefreemanonline.org/headline/fractional-reserve-banking/

    In some free-market circles fractional reserve banking (FRB) is blamed for everything from business cycles to bad breath. Defenders are seen as apologists for inflation and fraud. Thankfully these views remain a minority because they are gravely mistaken. As I, and other Austrian monetary theorists, such as George Selgin and Larry White, have argued, there’s nothing wrong with FRB that getting rid of a central bank can’t cure. Fractional reserve banking works just fine in a free market.

    I don’t want to rehearse the whole debate in this column, but I do want to address a claim made by opponents of FRB. They often say something like: “If I deposit $1,000 in my bank and it has to hold only 10 percent reserves, it can create $10,000 in new money.” This claim is ambiguous at best and downright wrong at worst. As stated it betrays a lack of understanding how fractional reserve banks (whether under free or central banking) actually work.

    First of all, this claim is ambiguous about where the deposit comes from and what it consists of. For example, if I deposit a $1,000 check in my bank that you’ve written on your bank, what happens? It’s true that my bank gets $1,000 in new reserves, but it cannot create $10,000 in new loans with the money. Why not? Imagine it credited $10,000 to the borrowers’ accounts. What would they then do? They would spend it because that’s why people borrow money! And what happens when it’s spent? The banks in which the funds are eventually deposited ask the original bank for $10,000 in reserves.

    The problem is that if the bank was at its 10 percent requirement before the $1,000 deposit came in, it cannot lose $10,000 in reserves without falling below its minimum requirement (or its desired level, in a free-banking system with no such requirement, which would be unacceptably risky without deposit insurance). What can the original bank afford to lose? Well, it has my new deposit of $1,000 against which it has to keep 10 percent, or $100. Therefore it has $900 to loan out. And that’s all. Banking rule #1: No individual bank can lend more than its excess reserves, in this case $900.

    Now you say, “Yes, but that $900 will be spent and deposited at another bank, which will keep $90 and lend out $810, and so on.” And you are quite right, which indicates banking rule #2: The banking system can expand by a multiple of those original excess reserves. Assuming 1) all banks face a 10 percent requirement, 2) no one takes out cash, and 3) no banks hold excess reserves, the system will create $10,000 based on that original $1,000 deposit. So perhaps the problem with the original statement is that it focused on one bank only rather than the banking system as a whole.

    What’s Unseen

    But that’s not it — and we need the help of Monsieur Bastiat to see the unseen. If the $1,000 I deposited came from your bank, it loses the $1,000 in reserves transferred to my bank. That forces your bank to call in loans to make up the lost reserves, which leads to reserves being lost by other banks, which then have to do the same thing. The result is that the $10,000 created by my bank’s gain in reserves is canceled by the $10,000 destroyed by your bank losing those reserves. When you write a check to me and I deposit it, there is no bank multiplier on net (assuming the three conditions above hold). Thus we see the reverse of rule #2, as the system simultaneously contracts by a multiplied amount of the original deposit/withdrawal.

    So how does new money ever get created and multiplied on net? By injections of new reserves. Only one entity can create new reserves in a fiat money system with a central bank: the central bank. When the Fed conducts open-market operations it adds new net reserves to the system, which enables the money-multiplier process with no offsetting loss in reserves elsewhere. The central bank and only the central bank can do this.

    A clever fellow might now say, “Well, what if I deposit currency into my bank? There’s no offset then, right?” That is indeed true. But where did the currency come from? At some point, you or someone else had to withdraw it from the banking system, which caused a multiplied contraction in the total money supply because currency counts as reserves. The two halves of the process are separated in time, unlike with the deposits, but the net effect in the long run is still zero.

    New currency can cause the money multiplier, but guess what is the only thing that can create new currency in a system with a monopoly central bank? You got it: the central bank. If you want to know whom to blame for setting off the money-multiplier process, you need only look there.

    The moral of the story? There’s nothing wrong with fractional reserve banking that getting rid of central banking and its various interventions can’t cure.

    • Birdman,

      Here is the Bank of Chicago explaining the Fractional Reserve System.

      http://www.rayservers.com/images/ModernMoneyMechanics.pdf

      Let’s go over fractional reserve banking.

      $100 deposit – $10 to reserve; lend $90
      $90 deposit – $9; lend $81
      $81 deposit … and so forth.

      He is correct. People borrow money to spend money. The supplier gets the borrowed money, and deposits it in a bank, thus the “ratchet up” in loans.

      Thus, $100 initial deposit generates about 9x in loans, ~$900.

      When you write a check to me and I deposit it, there is no bank multiplier on net (assuming the three conditions above hold). Thus we see the reverse of rule #2, as the system simultaneously contracts by a multiplied amount of the original deposit/withdrawal

      This is correct – one must review the entire system, not merely a single bank in the system.

      The whole system is one, big, bank – called the Federal Reserve System, so that is where we must place our review.

      He makes a mistake here:
      Imagine it credited $10,000 to the borrowers’ accounts. What would they then do? They would spend it because that’s why people borrow money! And what happens when it’s spent? The banks in which the funds are eventually deposited ask the original bank for $10,000 in reserves.

      In one place, he states “look at the whole system”, and then here he states “ignore the whole system and watch two banks”.

      So he errs in a few places – he looks at a single set of transactions and not the whole system; he ignores the dual and equal claim on the same dollar; he misunderstands the creation of money by computer digits.

      But he gets the right answer anyway:

      End the FED!

      If you apply the $100 deposit, and loan, deposit, loan, in the view of the whole system you see that the amount of outstanding loans vs. the initial deposit grows.

      That is the Fractional Reserve System – not just an interplay between two banks.

      The other problem with the Fractional Reserve system is that the depositor has demand rights to his money, whereas the loan is set out to be repaid over a long period of time (compared to the immediacy of the demand of the depositor).

      The banks borrow short and lend long. This is where the recipe of disaster sits.

      Rothbard argued this is fraud. He shows that the dollar on deposit is promised to the depositor on demand, but that same dollar is also give to the borrower.

      You cannot give the dollar to the depositor while it is in the hands of the borrower. So when the depositor demands his money, where does he get it from? …. it is taken from another depositor’s money! At the end of the cycle, the same dollar has been promised twice – but can only satisfy one. Thus, Rothbard argued this is an act of fraud – a false promise.

      The author also makes this mistake: the money to loan comes from the FED.

      His error – he confuses the paper currency with electronic digits.

      IF the bank had to pay the loan in currency, then there would require the bank to get that paper from the FED’s printing press. If the FED did not print the currency, the bank could not fork over the paper money.

      BUT that is not today’s system.

      It is electronic digits. The bank types into a computer “$10,000” into your account and *poof* you have $10,000 in your account – no paper currency required. This removes the FED’s printing press out of the equation completely.

      The FED controls the money supply by increasing or decreasing the interest rate on reserves or by changing reserve requirements (that is, demanding, say 15% fractional instead of 10%).

      It can also reduce the money supply by SELLING T-Bills; investors fork over “dollars” and the FED hands them a T-bill, and the money is withdrawn from the economy when the FED simply “burns” or deletes the money digits.

  46. Another to add to the list of what we’d like to see: no more lameduck!

    If you are up for election, you clean your office out before you head back home. Congress shuts down until new Congress is inaugurated.

    Many of these people have been fired by us and yet they are still there voting to instill even more damage. You get canned at your job and you are immediately gone. Should be the same way in Washington.

    Pelosi just pulled through with back door amnesty. How disgusting that something of such relevance is voted on by these has-beens. Senate vote tomorrow – hopefully it will be stopped.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      Not quite Kathy – its more like we asked them to resign/retire.

      To hell with transition eh?

      Just asking – did you feel this same way when Obama won the election?

      • Is there a technicality that I’m missing? Asking them to resign/retire is different from being fired? I’m guessing if your boss asked you to resign today, (election day), she wouldn’t then let you make signficant business decisions for the next two months.

        This has nothing to do with which election. No lameduck session. It would also keep them out of Washington, which is ultimately a good goal also.

        Do you disagree?

      • Missed your transition point. So what do you think happens? I have a feeling Russ Feingold is not taking Ron Johnson around the Senate showing him the way – at least I hope the hell he’s not!

        Transition time – perfect – no votes.

  47. Anita

    Wave when you fly by………..have fun.

  48. The following is a post I made to HuffPo this evening regarding the effects of the supposed Tax Cut Compromise.

    I am getting tired of STUPID commentary on this from all sides. Its not polished but it should give you something to ponder.

    Let me try to bring some rational thought to all this. I know it will be hard to give up the positions that you all have invested so much in holding. But here it goes.

    The arguments that extending the tax cuts will “increase” the deficit, and thus debt, fall on deaf ears from the Republican¬s. Those from the Dem side wonder why and call them hypocrites¬.

    But there is a reason behind their skepticism¬. You see, reducing revenue will be responsible for increasing the deficit ONLY if the spending side is frozen. If spending also increases then you get into the argument of “which one” added to the deficit. There has been no evidence that Congress and the various special interests are able to reduce let alone freeze spending.

    Graph of federal spending since 1960 here:

    http://www¬.usgovernm¬entspendin¬g.com/down¬chart_gs.p¬hp?year=19¬60_2015&vi¬ew=1&expan¬d=&units=b¬&fy=fy11&c¬hart=F0-to¬tal&bar=1&¬stack=1&si¬ze=l&title¬=&state=US¬&color=c&l¬ocal=s

    So if you were sitting in their seat, knowing that spending increases will not stop then how do “frame” the argument?

    Meanwhile, on the Dem side we have all this demagoguery over the rich that is based on nothing to do with the economy or jobs.

    Jobs or economy. They are not the same thing when it comes to policy action. If you focus on jobs you can actually damage the economy or keep it flat. If you focus on the economy you can get jobs.

    The current tax brackets need to stay in place if you want the economy to thrive. Some small raise might work, or it might cause further problems.

    Unemployment extensions, at this point, are also borrowed money. The funds were not collected for this length of coverage. Extending U comp simply treads water. So does extending the tax cuts. It maintains everything as it currently is.

    The reduction in payroll taxes will increase money to those who might actually spend it on goods and services. The employed. Or they may just use it to increase savings or pay down debt. Either case helps the economy. Savings increases bank reserves and increase pressure to lend. Reducing debt also reduces the risk on the bank ledgers.

    But in my opinion all this hand wringing and name calling over what the extended tax cuts and UI will do for jobs and the economy is pure inflated bull.

    I see little in the way of objective analysis and discussion. Right now our information is coming from those who have a dog in the fight. Left, right, academia and govt.

    I urge everyone to just relax a bit. First lets find out what is REALLY in the proposed legislation.

    • I recall earlier this year that Obama called for a spending freeze for 2011. This was in the same breath that he/congress/whoever raised the debt ceiling by 1.9 trillion. ????

      Why are these two issues – unemployment extention and extended tax cuts – even being discussed as one? It’s no wonder the entire country is upset. These guys are all cowards. The way it’s set up there is always the other guy to blame. One thing at a time..what’s so hard about that?

    • JAC said: “You see, reducing revenue will be responsible for increasing the deficit ONLY if the spending side is frozen.”

      Exactly! And that is where the new Congress MUST make the decisions that this current one will not.

      If I find out I’m not getting a raise this year, that doesn’t mean my budget next year in all screwed up – it means I cannot spend as much! PERIOD.

      • Kathy

        In a discussion of this topic on HuffPo Sunday, well I use the term discussion with tongue in cheek, one poster had what I thought a good suggestion.

        Let the tax rates increase under ONE and ONLY ONE condition. 100% of the difference in revenue would HAVE to go towards DEBT reduction. Not the deficit, but the outstanding DEBT.

        Then the new Congress can deal with the Deficit by reducing the spending side within the income of the current tax structure.

        I thought it was a good compromise and gave him two thumbs up.

  49. Good Morning 🙂

    The wind has finally died down and the hunt continues. It’s 12 degrees (WTF happened to AGW) with a foot of snow on the ground, should make for a nice day.

    What’s with all the hatred of Palin? If Obama were a HC in the NFL he’d have been fired by now, but yet, no calls for his head. Just wondering.

    Have a great day!

    G!

  50. Media Matters

    You know, that organization dedicated to nothing but fact finding. The unbiased, objective one.

    October…receives grant from Soros. His spokesmans says it is to battle Fox, which is a danger to society.

    Now….MM hires the guy who has been harassing Glenn Beck. His job? To continue harassing Glenn Beck, including going after Beck’s sponsors.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/09/angelo-carusone-media-matters-fox-news-glenn-beck_n_793817.html

    I think what bothers me most in all this is that the companies are so afraid of the attention and govt anymore that they have actually caved in to this pressure.

    • They do devote a lot of time and effort to Beck. Maybe because he has directly gone after Soros? I watched Beck for about ten min’s last night, first time 3-4 months. May look in again in spring. He is sharp and reports some important information, but his hype turns me off.

      MM on Beck’s lies about Soros.

      http://mediamatters.org/research/201012090001

    • If only, IF ONLY, these people would also question the motives of the money and flip the tables and investigate them.

      Let’s take a look at it. Glen Beck is dangerous because of what he is exposing. So what is he exposing? Government corruption, links between people/organizations, background of czars, and of course Soros. If this was a lie, they would sue him, and as far as I’m aware, he has not been sued. If he was irrelevant, they would ignore him – they clearly aren’t. Instead they are putting a lot of money and people into destroying him. Media Matters et al have sold their “journalistic” soul to the devil.

      Makes me want to watch him more. BTW, best way to watch Beck is to DVR the show.

      • Kathy

        I rarely see him on TV. Don’t have one. But listen several times a week on the radio.

        I liked Beck from the start but I must say he seems to be getting a little to far afield.

        But I do think that Media Matters and others try to discredit him on the fine points all the while ignoring the real issue. Deliberate action to control outcomes and linkage to the players.

        But I also think Beck creates the opportunity by stretching and embellishing and sometimes confusing his points. Perhaps even deliberately, I don’t know.

        I do know that when scrutiny on your information increases you must increase your efforts to be precise. He seems to be going the other way at times.

        Maybe he is really part of their organization. You know, one of those phony fronts to get the crazies to act so the POWER ELITE can step in to take over. Bwahahahahahaha.

        Sorry, couldn’t resist.
        🙂

        • Who knows these days. Unfortunately I find myself skeptical of everything these days and I don’t like the feeling of being so anti-trusting.

          • Kathy

            I share those feelings.

            Also this sense of pending doom. I was much happier when I lived quietly in my rabbit hole.

            We are once again looking at a move to the D.C. area. And all I can think is how the hell are we going to escape from there when the flit hits the shan.

            That and how am I going to keep from going insane with all those people and no real mountains to stare at.

            • JAC:

              Let your wife move to the D.C. area. You can stay in Montana with your son.

              It can be done. I live in IL and my family is in MI. I don’t like it but you have to do whatever you can to survive in this economy.

              You will not like D.C. and you know it.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                Nah, DC is a great city – lots of fun to be had. Go for it JAC!

              • Birdman

                Thanks for the thoughts. I know it can be done, we have also done it before. Lived apart for over a year before we moved to MT from Idaho.

                Sorry to hear your family had to stay behind. I hope that doesn’t last much longer for ya.

              • JAC:

                The goal is to get my daughter through her senior year. I have 18 months to relocate. I will start looking in the spring for a place to buy or rent.

            • “We are once again looking at a move to the D.C. area.”

              Why ever would you do this?

              • Kathy

                My wife’s work. I go back and forth from the excitement of a new adventure, you know I get itchy feet all the time anyway, and this feeling a log is lying across my chest.

                But maybe I could open up the D.C. office of the VDLG party. Or at least harass the ass clowns on behalf of SUFA.

  51. December 09, 2010
    The Economic Legacy of the Four-Year Democratic Congress
    By Yossi Gestetner
    From early 2007 through the end of 2010, the Democrats had strong Majorities in — and control of — the US House of Representatives and also the U.S. Senate. Both are chambers where laws and policies that affect the economy are created and shaped.

    The following table shows how the Democrat Congress performed on average during its four year tenure, vs. the average of the previous four years, 2003 through the end of 2006, when Republican were at the helm:
    Issue/Topic

    Democrats

    Republicans

    Jobs by Year – Average

    -1,583,000

    +1,672,000

    Jobs by Month – Average

    -131,916

    +139,333

    Unemployment Rate – Average

    7.48%

    5.3%

    Budget Deficits – Avrage

    $1.143 Trillion

    $285 Billion

    Dow (DJIA)

    0.13% (0.53 Total)

    11.04%

    S & P 500

    1.29%

    15.02%

    FDIC Bank Closures – Average

    79.2

    1.75

    Following are the numbers in more detail (2010 statistics will need to be adjusted with the close of December. However, the general picture won’t change much anyway.):

    Non-farm Payroll by Year:

    2003 = 87,000;

    2004 = 2,047,000

    2005 = 2,496,000

    2006 = 2,060,000. Four Year Total Republicans: 6,690,000 Jobs GAINED.

    2007 = 1,078,000

    2008 = 3,623,000 Minus

    2009 = 4,740,000 Minus

    2010 = 951,000 Four Year Total Democrats: 6,334,000 Jobs LOST!

    Take note that the 2009 Stimulus “Could have been worse” year, was indeed worse than the previous year, by 1.1 million more jobs lost.

    ****

    Unemployment Rate by Yearly Average (calculated by dividing in twelve the total monthly Unemployment Rate):

    2003 5.99;

    2004 5.54;

    2005 5.08;

    2006 4.61;

    2007 4.61;

    2008 6.37;

    2009 9.28;

    2010 9.66

    ****

    Budget Deficits (The Fiscal Years starts three months into the previous colander year, such as FY 2007 was drawn up during 2006 with a Republican Congress). Numbers are in Billions except when indicated otherwise.

    FY 2004 = $412

    FY 2005 = $318.7

    FY 2006 = $247.7

    FY 2007 = $162 Total Added Republican Budget Deficits: $1.140 Trillion.

    FY 2008 = $454

    FY 2009 = $1.416 Trillion

    FY 2010 = $1.294 Trillion

    FY 2011 = $1.41 Projected by the White House, July 2010

    Total Added Democrats Budget Deficits: $4.574 Trillion!

    NOTE: If I hear a Republican say one more time that “we lost our way” on spending, I’ll be tempted to jump ff the Tappan Zee Bridge in NY. I’ll take a Republican Congress for the next 100 years, four times faster than a Democrat Congress.
    (As an independent, can I say Newt and the Repug’s screwed us over and were thrown out on their asses as a result. Being more fiscally responsible as they lied and cheated us does not make them hero’s. This remark makes me suspect partisan bias in these numbers. There are links at the original article.)

    ****

    Dow Jones Industrial Average Annual Returns

    2003 = 25.32%

    2004 = 3.15%

    2005 = 0.61% Minus

    2006 = 16.29% Total Four Year DJIA Republican Growth: 44.15%

    2007 = 6.43%

    2008 = 33.84% Minus

    2009 = 18.82%

    2010 = 9.12% as of the Close Friday 10/3/10. Total Four Year DJIA Dem Growth: 0.53%

    ****

    S&P 500 Index Annual Returns

    2003 = 28.72%

    2004 = 10.82%

    2005 = 4.79%

    2006 = 15.74% Total Four Year Republican S&P Growth: 60.07%

    2007 = 5.46%

    2008 = 37.22% Minus

    2009 = 27.11%

    2010 = 9.81% as of the Close Friday December 3, 2010. Total Four Year Democrat S&P Growth: 5.16%

    ****

    FDIC Banks Closures as reported by the FDIC

    2003 = 03

    2004 = 04

    2005 = No Bank Failures

    2006 = No Banks Failures Total in Four Republican Years: Seven.

    2007 = 03

    2008 = 25

    2009 = 140

    2010 = 149 and counting Total in Four Democrat Years: 317!

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/12/the_economic_legacy_of_the_fou.html

    • LOI,

      The problem with the numbers you provide are that they are uncorrelated.

      Increase in “employment” means the government injected money into the economy and dropped interest rates – none of which is “good”. To argue “we have more jobs” begs the question “At what cost???”

      Same with the deficit – means increase in spending WITHOUT an increase in taxes. Are you arguing that taxes should have been increased?

      Increase in the stock market indexes marches in step with the lowering of interest rates and increase in money supply. Are you arguing that artificial low interest rates and high inflation is a “good”?

      • Flag,

        One statement I made, “This remark makes me suspect partisan bias in these numbers.” I think the economy does better under Repugs than Dem’s. That does not mean I support the Repugs. I think the Paul Ryans and other fiscal conservatives are the first, best step to VDLG that I hope for someday. I think accurate numbers can help make the case, but I lack the expertise to make any such claims. I think both parties cook their numbers, changing what they count as being un-employed or keeping entitlements on different books than the “budget”.

        • LOI,

          As I inferred in my post, I do not believe the Repugs do better at all.

          I was trying to point this out:

          Dems favor using taxes as a revenue/beating stick. They use debt less often.

          Reps favor using debt as revenue and taxes as a carrot stick. They use debt more often.

          Traditionally, deficits have gone down in Dem years, but taxes go up.

          Traditionally, deficits go up in Rep years, but taxes go down.

          Obama years are like Carter years – echos of the previous administrations screw ups. Carter suffered the aftershock of Nixon’s war. Obama suffers the aftershock of Bush’s war.

          However, by objective measures, the Dem and Reps devastate the economy and the nation pretty much equally.

          They are both the Warfare/Welfare Party, the only difference is which “W” gets first billing.

  52. Any women or minorities here on SUFA looking for a job? Sorry, no white men need apply! NOTE: Even though range is $255,000 – make sure you only accept salary of $249,000 – you wouldn’t want to be part of that nasty rich class.

    Who Says There Aren’t Any Good Jobs Out There?

    Here’s a federal job listing by way of Moonbattery. As you can see, there’s still time to apply:

    Over 200k just to separate the white males from the rest in order to contribute to a more colorblind society free from sexual discrimination? That sounds like a job I could handle — if I wasn’t a white guy.

    Sure the salary might seem high, but as you can see, the benefits are far inferior to those offered in the private sector. Just look at this skimpy list of bennies:

    BENEFITS: FHFA offers a wide array of benefits:

    1. HEALTH INSURANCE – A variety of Federal Employee Health Benefit plans to choose from which can be paid from pre-tax income. FHFA pays 90% of the bi-weekly premium.

    2. DENTAL INSURANCE – FREE comprehensive dental coverage to employees and their family members. There is a $2,500 annual maximum per employee and a separate orthodontic benefit for dependent children to age 19. (Annual deductibles apply.)

    3. VISION INSURANCE – FREE vision care coverage. This benefit covers the employee and all eligible dependents. (Co-pay applies.) Coverage includes reimbursement according to a fee schedule for eye examinations, frames and contact lenses once every 12 months.

    4. WELLNESS REIMBURSEMENT – The Wellness Program provides a taxable reimbursement each fiscal year for various health related expenses. The maximum reimbursement dollar amount is established at $600 for 2010.

    5. FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNT – The Flexible Spending Account Program provides pre-tax, employee-funded accounts to pay for medical expenses that are tax deductible as well as dependent care costs.

    6. LONG TERM CARE INSURANCE – The Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program provides long term care insurance to help pay for costs of care when you can no longer perform everyday tasks by yourself, or you have a severe cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s. You may visit the Long Term Care Partners website for more information: http://www.ltcfeds.com.

    7. COMMUTING EXPENSES – 100% of the cost of your public transportation commuting expenses (e.g., vanpool, metro bus, metro train) is paid. The first $230 is tax-free and $90 per month is provided to cover the cost of parking at Metro operated lots.

    8. LEAVE – The federal leave program offers exceptional time-off benefits, including annual leave, sick leave, Family Friendly Leave, Family Medical Leave, and ten (10) paid holidays per year.

    9. RETIREMENT – Employees who currently participate in the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) will remain in that system. All other employees will participate in the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS). FERS is a three-tiered program consisting of: Basic Benefit (a retirement pension), Social Security, and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) (see below).

    10. SAVINGS PLAN WITH MATCHING FUNDS – The TSP is a retirement savings and investment plan for federal employees and offers the same type of savings and tax benefits provided under 401(k) plans. As a FERS employee, you can contribute up to $16,500 per year. You will receive agency-matching contributions up to the first 5 percent. As a CSRS employee, you can contribute up to $16,500 per year. CSRS employees do not receive any agency contributions. Employees age 50 or older as of December 31, 2009, may contribute an additional $5,500 for catch-up contribution per year. Newly appointed employees will be subject to an automatic enrollment of the TSP at the rate of 3% of their basic pay each pay period.

    11. 401(k) PLAN – In addition to the TSP, FHFA offers an additional 401(k) plan that is administered by T. Rowe Price. Employees covered under FERS contributing at least 3% to the TSP may participate in the FHFAs 401(k) plan. All CSRS employees may participate. 401(k) plan participants may contribute up to 10% of their bi-weekly pay on a pre-tax basis, with agency matching contributions of up to 3 %.

    12. LIFE INSURANCE – The Federal Employee Group Life Insurance offers numerous life insurance policy options covering employees and dependents.

    13. COUNSELING SERVICES – The Employee Assistance Program provides free confidential counseling and referral services to you and your family members.

    14. TRAINING – Career development and enrichment training is available in job-related areas.

    15. GYM – Free use of an on-site gym and locker room with shower facilities.
    Of course the government can continue to operate this way!

    **Written by Doug Powers

    http://michellemalkin.com/2010/12/08/good-jobs/

    • Kathy

      I saw this last night and passed it on to Spousal Unit Leader. Her comment was “do you really think they would hire a white woman?”

      But the real comment was “holy shit”!

      You see the benefits listed for this job far exceed anything she gets as a Federal Employee. Meaning that the difference between agencies is much greater than even we knew about.

      Or, the benefits listed are a hoax by someone and Malkin’s staff bit, hook line and sinker.

      Wouldn’t be surprised if it was the former, however.

  53. Hmmm, job didn’t show up – let me try this:

    Job Title: Associate Director for Women and Minority Inclusion
    Agency: Federal Housing Finance Agency
    Sub Agency: FHFA
    Job Announcement Number: OD-11-01

    SALARY RANGE: $180,000.00 – $255,000.00 /year
    OPEN PERIOD: Tuesday, November 23, 2010 to Tuesday, December 14, 2010
    SERIES & GRADE: OE-0301-01/01
    POSITION INFORMATION: Full Time Permanent – No time limit
    PROMOTION POTENTIAL: 01
    DUTY LOCATIONS: 1 vacancy – Washington , DC
    WHO MAY BE CONSIDERED: US citizens

    JOB SUMMARY:
    http://jobview.usajobs.gov/GetJob.aspx?JobID=94308500&JobTitle=Associate+Director+for+Women+and+Minority+Inclusion&brd=3876&vw=b&FedEmp=N&pg=1&q=Associate+Director+for+Women+and+Minority+Inclusion&re=0&AVSDM=2010-11-23+16%3a31%3a00

    • Why is this position necessary? 180-255k + full bennies! I thought we were broke.

      • You can never go broke as long as you can
        (A) borrow more money
        (B) print more money

        • Mathius,

          You ,b>are broke if:
          (1) you need to borrow money
          (2) you need to print money

          • Broke, see Bankrupt

            2. any insolvent debtor; a person unable to satisfy any just claims made upon him or her.

            The US can satisfy it’s debts by borrowing more money. Once that stops being an option, it will be able to satisfy it’s dollar denominated debts by printing more dollars. Such is the joy of fiat currency.

            • To hell with Webster, I think BF is more accurate.

              • Which Webster? Daniel Webster? Noah Webster? The Webster sitcom? I’ll assume you’re talking about the dictionary guy.

                Well that works for me.. let’s all just make any claims we like and then we can use our own definitions to back them up. Here, let me try:

                Sarah Palin is qualified to be the Vice President*.

                *Vice President, as defined in this post means “an inmate of an insane asylum who is locked away for life and who is correctly considered to be a serious threat to the very fabric of modern society.”

                Woo, this is fun.

              • Sorry, on BF is qualified to trump the dictionary. 😀

              • on = only

                At least, according to my definitions….hopefully BF will back me up since I am not qualified to do that…

              • Black Flag is a suppository of information.

              • *snicker*

                For those not paying attention:

                suppository – an encapsulated or solid medication for insertion into the vagina, rectum, or urethra, where it melts and releases the active substance.

              • Oh.. did I say that? Woops.

                PS: You’d be amazed how rarely people catch that joke – 99% of people miss it entirely.

              • I know, its an easy one to miss, since it sounds so close to “repository”, which is defined as an abundant source or storage place. Of course it is also defined as a grave….

              • Mathius,

                broke (brk)

                adj. Informal
                1. Bankrupt.
                2. Lacking fund

              • A man who is lacking funds, but has the resources to meet his obligations (by borrowing) is not broke.

                Net net, I have no money. My debts are greater than my current net worth. However, I can meet my obligations due to borrowing (my mortgage). Would you say I am broke?

              • I can no longer borrow money. I have $100 dollars. I have a couple remaining debts but the items owed on are worth a lot more than the money borrowed. If I had to get rid of those items because I could not pay for them, I would still be able to generate income. I have more net worth than you, but I am a lot closer to “broke”.

                Unless you are not actually backwards on your asset values, in which case you miscalculated your net worth. Still, I think you are correct that “broke” is a definition typically applied to cash flow, not wealth.

                Still, if you need to borrow or print money, you are going broke. 🙂

              • I was actually just trying to make a point – my home is worth far more than I owe and I have substantial savings (all in gold bullion, of course).

                I’m far too careful to ever get in over my head.

      • Looks to be a political payoff position. Do the party in power something, they give these jobs as rewards. Just another way of using our money to insure they stay in power.

  54. It is natural for man to indulge in the illusions of hope.

    We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts…

    For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst, and to provide for it.”

    ~ Patrick Henry

  55. Mathius

    A man who is lacking funds, but has the resources to meet his obligations (by borrowing) is not broke.

    Net net, I have no money. My debts are greater than my current net worth. However, I can meet my obligations due to borrowing (my mortgage). Would you say I am broke?

    Yes.

    Technically, you are insolvent, that is liabilities exceed assets .

    Here is a fundamental economic lesson:
    You do not solve insolvency with more liquidity

    Insolvency is a productivity problem. You solve insolvency by increasing your productivity.

    Borrowing more money, getting in more debt increases your insolvency.

    So, yes – if you need to borrow money pay for your recurring obligations, you are broke

    • Not until you are no longer able to borrow any more.

      broke/bankrupt means you can’t meet your obligations. That’s it.

      Think about it this way: when you are broke, your creditors can come and seize your stuff. They can’t do that until you fail to pay. Can creditors seize your stuff just because your net worth is negative?

      • Mathius,

        You are in err.

        You are insolvent when your debts are greater then your net worth.

        It has NOTHING to do with your ability to acquire more debt.

        You are broke – you are living on someone else’s productivity

        • in·sol·vent
             /ɪnˈsɒlvənt/ [in-sol-vuhnt]
          –adjective
          1.
          not solvent; unable to satisfy creditors or discharge liabilities, either because liabilities exceed assets or because of inability to pay debts as they mature.
          2.
          pertaining to bankrupt persons or bankruptcy.

          bank·rupt
             /ˈbæŋkrʌpt, -rəpt/ [bangk-ruhpt, -ruhpt]
          –noun
          1.
          Law. a person who upon his or her own petition or that of his or her creditors is adjudged insolvent by a court and whose property is administered for and divided among his or her creditors under a bankruptcy law.
          2.
          any insolvent debtor; a person unable to satisfy any just claims made upon him or her.

          The dictionary agrees with me.

          • Mathius,

            I already provided the definition, see above.

          • Mathius

            I would like to point out that using your definition you are still insolvent.

            You are unable to discharge liabilities. When you borrow to pay one, you have added another. You can not meet all your obligations unless you increase your assets to equal your liabilities.

            • I can always (if necessary) liquidate my home. It is worth roughly 2x my total debt load. Even in the worst market, I should be ok. Couple that with my savings and I am quite solvent, thank you.

              Insolvency means you cannot meet your CURRENT debt, not the total debt. Just what you own at any given time, not if someone demanded payment in full (unless they are able to and are currently doing so).

              • Mathius,

                You are confused between bankruptcy and insolvency.

                You’re inability to meet your current debt will force you into bankruptcy.

                You are insolvent when your debt are greater than your assets.

        • On an unrelated note, re our conversation yesterday, are silver nuggets easier to find than gold? If I wanted one of substantial size (say, 7 or 8 oz), is that doable?

          • Mathius,

            Silver nuggets are more rare then gold nuggets.

            Nuggets are created by nature’s erosion.

            The metal is eroded out of rock, floats down water and settles (due to weight) into the bedrock.

            Because gold is so dense, it tends to settle at the very bottom and lowest points in bedrock, where over time the pressure of the overburden presses it into a clump.

            Erosion happens again, and the clump is freed to be found by man.

            Silver is not nearly as dense as gold, tends to scatter and settle in more diverse crevices and sand bars, thus doesn’t accumulate naturally to be pressed into a clump.

            So, as far as I know, the only silver nuggets come out of Australia and are as rare as…. well, silver nuggets!

  56. Cold, snowy day in southern WI so reading this quip on Climate Camp made for a good laugh! Enjoy!

    Letters from Climate Camp

    http://www.ihatethemedia.com/letters-from-climate-camp

  57. U.S. Weapon:

    Do you have AdWare on this site? Every time I click to submit on SUFA my virus software removes the AdWare.

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